Business groups call on Pence to improve federal guidance for worker safety

Business groups call on Pence to improve federal guidance for worker safety
© getty: Vice President Mike Pence

Industry groups that represent food, agriculture and consumer packaged goods are urging the federal government to improve its coordination and provide specific guidance on worker safety and supply chain reliability as businesses prepare to reopen.

A dozen groups, including the Consumer Brands Association, United Fresh Produce Association and the Household and Commercial Products Association, wrote a letter to Vice President Pence on Thursday to ask for immediate coordination between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The groups asked for a uniform threshold of how many positive coronavirus tests should trigger a plant shutdown, when and how manufacturers should administer tests, how facilities should deal with visitors like inspection and auditing teams and how truck drivers should interact with manufacturing plants, among other questions.

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“Today, there is no single federal agency providing clear, integrated guidance of this nature,” the groups wrote.

“The CDC and OSHA exercise authority in their respective jurisdictions, operating in separate 'lanes,' " they added. "This prevents the kind of tight coordination and clarity that our industries and state and local governments need urgently to mitigate risk in an uncertain operating environment.”

Other groups on the letter include the American Beverage Association, American Cleaning Institute and American Frozen Food Institute, among others.