According to the Huffington Post, President Donald Trump’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued guidance that most employers do not have to report cases of COVID-19 in their workplace to the Department of Labor.
“COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, is classified as a recordable illness, meaning employers would have to notify the Occupational Safety and Health Administration when an employee gets sick from an exposure at work,” wrote Dave Jamieson. “But the nation’s top workplace safety agency now says the majority of U.S. employers won’t have to try to determine whether employees’ infections happened in the workplace unless it’s obvious.”
“Employers in health care, emergency response and corrections would have to inform the agency when they become aware of a COVID-19 case that probably resulted from work,” continued the report. “But other entities would not have to do so unless there was ‘objective evidence’ that the transmission was work-related, or there was evidence ‘reasonably available to the employer’ ― for example, if a whole slew of people who work right next to each other got sick.”
Some workplace safety experts are horrified by this decision — including David Michaels, who served as OSHA director under President Barack Obama.
OSHA announces employers don’t have to record Covid19 cases.
The reason: to “help employers focus their response efforts on implementing good hygiene practices in their workplaces, and otherwise mitigating COVID-19’s effects.”
OSHA is kidding, right?https://t.co/vT5ICpLk0F
— David Michaels (@drdavidmichaels) April 10, 2020
The Labor Department, which includes OSHA, was recently taken over by Eugene Scalia, son of the late conservative Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia. The choice was met with criticism, given that Scalia has represented corporations including Walmart, Ford, and UPS in labor rights cases.
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