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Labor unions wanting permanent workplace safety standards to protect medical staff from workplace COVID-19 infections were hit hard when an appeals court rejected an emergency petition they filed on Friday. .
Unions urged the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to implement interim federal emergency standards for health care facilities as guidance from national and local agencies shifts through the first year of the pandemic.
OSHA did this in June 2021 with a rule requiring hospitals and other health care facilities to follow requirements for ventilation, physical barriers, and other protections aimed at reducing transmission of the virus.
In December, officials announced they would be withdrawing the rules after working toward a permanent regulatory resolution while considering rulemaking for broader infectious diseases.
In January, unions, including National Nurses United, the New York State Nurses Association, and other major unions representing teachers and other workers, quickly codified OSHA into permanent standards for occupational exposures. I petitioned the court to demand that
The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled Friday that OSHA has discretion and does not have the authority to compel government agencies to make specific rules, according to court documents.
“Since the pandemic began, America’s labor movement has fought to save the lives and livelihoods of millions of health care workers who are at grave risk of contracting COVID-19 in the workplace. The trade association council said in a statement.
Officials need to work quickly to finalize and issue the permanent rules they announced in December and then return to implementing emergency protection until that happens, Shuler said.
When the standard was first introduced, health care employers opposed it, noting that the rule was long and complicated, had short compliance deadlines, and had a short comment period.
“While we are disappointed with the court’s decision, it will relax efforts to ensure the necessary occupational health and safety protections to keep nurses and all other healthcare workers safe during the ongoing pandemic. No,” said NNU President Jean Roth. in a statement.
“We urge OSHA to issue the permanent Covid standards it has promised for healthcare workers as soon as possible,” said Ross.