ISSA Advocacy Recap—Draft OSHA Workplace Emergency Standard Under Review

April 30, 2021 ISSA Advocacy Recap—Draft OSHA Workplace Emergency Standard Under Review

Welcome to the ISSA Advocacy Recap, our regular roundup of the latest public policy issues impacting the cleaning industry. This week’s recap touches on the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reviewing a draft U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) workplace emergency temporary standard, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) no longer prioritizing emergency requests for new products that address surface transmission of COVID-19, the hotel industry and union joining forces to urge congressional passage of the Save Hotel Jobs Act, and more.

Draft Workplace Emergency Temporary Standard Sent to OMB for Review
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced on Monday it had sent a draft emergency temporary standard (ETS) on the coronavirus pandemic to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB), defending the extra time the agency took to move on establishing a standard, The Hill reported. OSHA, a division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), took “the appropriate time” to get the standards right, according to the DOL. U.S. President Joe Biden issued an executive order in January on protecting worker health and safety, which called on OSHA to issue an ETS by March 15.

EPA Updates Disinfectant Policy
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the agency is no longer prioritizing public health emergency requests for new products that address surface transmission of SARS-CoV-2. EPA will “continue to follow the evolving science of the pandemic by shifting resources to the evaluation of novel products, such as those that kill airborne SARS-CoV-2, and to meeting critical deadlines in the registration and review of all pesticide products within its purview.” Additionally, due to the hundreds of EPA-registered products that are already available, EPA will “no longer expedite new product registrations, emerging viral pathogen claims, SARS-CoV-2 claims, and electrostatic spraying directions for products intended to kill SARS-CoV-2 on surfaces.”

Hotel Industry and Union Join to Urge Congress for Aid
The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), a Healthy Workplaces Tax Credit Coalition partner with ISSA, and Unite Here, the largest hospitality workers union in North America, joined forces to call on Congress to pass the Save Hotel Jobs Act. The bill, introduced by U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and U.S. Representative Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), provides a” lifeline to hotel workers and hoteliers, providing critical assistance to bring back workers and to bridge the gap until travel returns.” Among other provisions, the legislation includes a tax credit—similar to the healthy workplaces tax credit spearheaded by ISSA—that would cover up to 50% of costs associated with the purchase of personal protective equipment, technology designed to reduce the impact of the pandemic, increased testing for employees, and enhanced cleaning protocols that do not negatively impact the level of work for housekeeping staff.

Crapo, Risch Introduce Back to Work Bonus Legislation
U.S. Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID) and U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) introduced the Back to Work Bonus Act. The bill “counteracts enhanced federal unemployment benefits that discourage workers from returning to jobs by providing a back-to-work bonus for those who are able to safely do so.” Idaho was the first state to implement a return-to-work bonus system in July 2020 and over 10,000 Idahoans sought the bonus on day one. U.S. House Ways and Means Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX) introduced identical legislation in the House of Representatives, the Reopening America by Supporting Workers and Businesses Act of 2021.

New York Lawmakers Pass Workplace Pandemic Safety Law
New York lawmakers passed a bill requiring businesses to mandate control rules in workplaces, according to CMM. The New York Health and Essential Rights Act passed the state’s assembly earlier this month. The bill will prevent “occupational exposure to an airborne infectious disease by implementing a model infectious disease exposure prevention standard and requiring employers to implement such a model or a similar plan.” A final version of the bill with minor amendments is expected to pass and be sent to the governor for approval.

Other links of interest

Upcoming government webinar

EPA – Asthma-Friendly Schools: Strategies to Reduce the Risk of COVID-19 Transmission and Improve Indoor Air Quality May 6, 2021