DEMOCRAT – Joseph Biden and Health and Safety
The Obama-Biden Administration created rules to protect workers from two deadly chemicals: respirable crystalline silica and Beryllium.
The Obama-Biden Administration added more than 200 OSHA inspectors. Under Obama-Biden, OSHA issued nearly 1,200 enforcement actions involving serious penalties in its first seven years.
Obama-Biden improved whistleblower protection for workers who suffered retaliation for exercising their health and safety rights. With twice as many successful outcomes as the Bush Administration over a comparable period and triple the amount of money restored to workers (from $38 million awarded total from 2006-2008, versus $108 million awarded from 2012-2105).
In 2009, the Obama-Biden Administration responded successfully to the H1N1 flu epidemic. This successful response is one of the reasons that the epidemic is not well-remembered by many people. One of the things the Obama-Biden Administration did was to task the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with issuing detailed guidance for how employers should protect their workers. OSHA enforced the law based on those guidelines.
After H1N1, the Obama-Biden Administration spent years preparing a new, permanent infectious disease standard, which would have required health facilities and certain other high exposure workplaces to permanently implement infection control programs to protect their workers. It was shelved after 2016.
Biden believes that every worker has the right to return home from work safely. He will:
Encourage union organizing and defend collective bargaining. He believes that unions, representing the many workers that are exposing themselves to hazards to keep Americans safe, provide a critical voice in handling crises. Unions can negotiate for better safety and health protections and provide better health and safety training.
Direct OSHA and other relevant agencies to develop comprehensive strategies for addressing the most dangerous hazards workers encounter in the modern workplace.
Double the number of OSHA investigators to enforce the law and existing standards and guidelines.
The Biden plan calls for:
Directing OSHA to keep frontline workers safe by issuing an Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) that requires comprehensive infectious disease exposure control plans and gives employers and frontline employees specific, enforceable guidance on what to do to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Finalizing a permanent infectious disease standard.
Working closely with state occupational safety and health agencies and state and local governments, and the unions that represent their employees, to ensure comprehensive protections for frontline workers.
Ensuring all frontline workers have access to adequate quantities of high quality, appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and appropriate training on how to use it.
Expanding workers’ access to effective PPE by fully using the Defense Production Act.
Fully empowering a Supply Commander to coordinate the production and delivery of PPE.