Still No ETS from OSHA or MSHA

After three letters over the course of a year to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), the agency has yet to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to address the risks miners face every day from COVID-19. Two Administrations have passed and neither one has felt it necessary to issue workplace protections for workers covered by both Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and MSHA. “An ETS is long overdue, and something should have been done at the beginning of the pandemic,” said President Roberts. “You would think that the government agencies that are charged with protecting workers on the job would not have to be forced to do so, but that is where we find ourselves today.”

Now, with the new CDC guidelines that vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear a mask, states and businesses across the country immediately began to roll back their COVID protections. This leaves essential workers across the country to fend for themselves. This has created a very confusing situation for everyone, as well as making it virtually impossible to know who has been vaccinated and those who have not. “It
is ridiculous that government agencies did not have an ETS when we were all first aware of the pandemic,” said Secretary-Treasurer Allen. “Here we are more than a year later with COVID restrictions being lifted all across our country and yet nothing has been done to protect workers in this country. The primary focus of OSHA and MSHA is to ensure the safety of workers, and, quite frankly, they have failed to do just that.”

It is becoming clear that neither OSHA nor MSHA will be issuing an ETS and will be depending on vaccines to be all the protection workers need. “It is disappointing to see that while only 38 percent of the U.S. population has been vaccinated, the agencies do not feel workers need enforceable workplace protections in order to keep them safe from this deadly virus,” said President Roberts. “We will continue to push for an ETS until this pandemic is over. And while we have made great progress in pushing the virus back, we are certainly not out of the woods yet.”