Federal Spotlight: Biden Signs Executive Order Aimed at Establishment of Emergency Temporary Standard

January 28, 2021

Last week, President Joe Biden put his signature on an executive order that will affect workplaces across the country. The order directs the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to consider issuing an emergency temporary standard (ETS) by March 15, as well as update employer guidance focused on protecting workers from COVID-19. The EO also directs OSHA to review and make necessary changes to enforcement efforts and coordinate with states to ensure that all workers are covered by any new OSHA standards or rules.

Biden also has called on Congress to pass legislation that authorizes OSHA to implement an ETS. Should an ETS be implemented, it could limit employer flexibility to address safety in the workplace by imposing a one-size-fits-all mandate. Some states, such as California and Virginia, have already implemented statewide ETS and the National Association of Manufacturers recently held a meeting to discuss what a Federal ETS might look like based on the current state policies. ABI is continuing to monitor the situation as it unfolds at the federal level.