The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an emergency regulation back in June requiring hospitals and other health care settings to enforce COVID-19 safety practices. Now, OSHA is warning three states—Arizona, South Carolina, and Utah—that if they don't adopt those rules, the federal government will take over workplace safety enforcement.


"OSHA has worked in good faith to help these three state plans to come into compliance," Jim Frederick, OSHA's acting director, said on a call with reporters on Tuesday. "But their continued refusal is a failure to maintain their state plan commitment to thousands of workers in their states."

The emergency temporary standard for health care facilities requires them to develop a plan for COVID-19 safety including personal protective equipment, health screening, social distancing, ventilation, cleaning, and more. It's mostly very familiar stuff more than a year and a half into the pandemic. But Arizona, South Carolina, and Utah have failed to fulfill the requirements of the rule, according to OSHA.

States are allowed to do their own workplace safety enforcement as long as they meet minimum requirements. If they fail to do that, the federal government steps in.

"The bottom line is private-sector employers in state plans do not want federal OSHA coming in," former OSHA official Debbie Berkowitz told Dave Jamieson. "In almost every state where they have a state plan, although they have the same regulations, enforcement is so much weaker."

All three states were basically "Who, us?" about the OSHA warning that they weren't meeting the emergency temporary standard. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said in a statement that Arizona officials believed the state to be in compliance, but would look into the matter. A South Carolina official said the state's policies had "proven effective as South Carolina has consistently had one of the lowest injury and illness rates in the nation." And Utah Gov. Spencer Cox said that his state's plan was as good as the federal one, but also that the federal one would create too great a burden for the health care industry.

The emergency temporary standard for health care is, in itself, important. But it's also an early warning sign about how states will respond when OSHA releases a rule requiring all large workplaces to mandate either vaccination or weekly COVID-19 testing for all employees. If a state isn't willing to enforce basic standards in health care settings, that's kind of a red flag for how it will approach the broader rule.

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Ivanka Trump told the House Select Committee investigating the violent January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol that she accepted former Attorney General William P. Barr’s assertions that her father’s stolen election claims are “bullshit.”

But the New York Times revealed on Tuesday that for more than a month after the election, Trump’s fruitless legal crusade to overturn the 2020 election results had his eldest daughter’s complete and total backing. Per the Times, Ivanka told a documentary film crew in mid-December 2020 that she wanted Trump to “continue to fight until every legal remedy is exhausted” because “a lot of Americans” were supposedly questioning “the sanctity of our elections.”

Keep reading... Show less

Wandrea "Shaye" Moss

YouTube Screenshot

Georgia election worker Wandrea “Shaye” Moss was collateral damage in Fox News’ campaign to prop up Donald Trump’s false claims of election fraud following the 2020 presidential election.

In December 2020, the network’s prime-time hosts and “straight news” personnel alike baselessly suggested that Moss and her mother and fellow election worker, Ruby Freeman, had participated in a fraud scheme. The Fox personalities don’t seem to regret their actions: After Moss described the impact those conspiracy theories had on her life to the January 6 House select committee on Tuesday, the network devoted all of 14 seconds to her testimony.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}