Employers should prepare to comply quickly with new COVID-19 workplace rules from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which will likely address various workplace safety measures, such as prevention plans, employee training, masks, and social distancing.
Earlier this week, OSHA sent a COVID-19 emergency temporary standard to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. President Biden previously directed OSHA to determine whether an emergency temporary standard was necessary to protect workers from COVID-19 exposure and risks – and if OSHA determined a standard was necessary – to issue it by March 15. Shortly before March 15, OSHA informed multiple business groups that it had decided to issue an emergency temporary standard but needed more time to “get it right.” Since then, OSHA has been under increased pressure from Congress and many worker protection groups to issue an emergency temporary standard to protect workers and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.
The specific language of the emergency temporary standard and when OMB will complete its review is unknown. OMB can take as much time as necessary for the review. Although, many reports suggest the review period will be approximately two weeks. The emergency temporary standard will take effect immediately upon publication in the Federal Register. The standard will be effective for six months or until a permanent standard is adopted following the regular rulemaking process.