OSHA issues a new COVID safety rule, but only for the health care industry.

During the Trump Administration, OSHA policy followed Large-scale limiting of COVID-related inspections to a small number of high-risk industries such as health care and emergency response. It didn’t include meatpacking – which studies indicate In this high-risk group – the virus was a major source of transmission.

some activist groups OSHA credit given To enforce safety regulations in the health care industry, President Donald J. Under Trump, including proposed penalties of more than $1 million for violations in dozens of health care facilities and nursing homes. but critics charge Agency failing to fix meat processors for lax safety standards, such as failure to adequately distance workers.

Mr Walsh indicated that the risk had decreased for most workers outside health care as cases fell and vaccination rates rose. He also indicated that Guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month Advising people who have been vaccinated that they generally do not need to wear masks indoors played a part in OSHA’s decision to abandon the broader COVID-19 standard.

“OSHA has tailored the rule that reflects the reality on the ground, the success of the vaccine effort, as well as the latest guidance from the CDC and the changing nature of the pandemic,” Walsh said on the call.

David Michaels, the head of OSHA during the Obama administration, said CDC guidance made the broader OSHA rule more difficult to implement. “To justify an emergency standard, OSHA has to show that there is a serious threat,” Dr. Michaels said. “For that to happen, CDC will need to clarify its recommendation and say that for many workers, a serious threat remains.”

Without such explanation, Dr. Employer groups would probably have challenged any new OSHA rule in court, said Michaels, who is now a professor at the George Washington University School of Public Health, arguing that CDC guidance indicated a rule was unnecessary.

Dr Michaels said the new standard was an overdue step but it was disappointing that no COVID-specific standards had been issued for industries such as meatpacking, reform and retail. “If risks are not controlled in these workplaces, they will continue to be important drivers of infection,” he said.

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