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Democratic senators call on OSHA to issue Emergency Temporary Standard for workers due to coronavirus outbreak

Democratic senators call on OSHA to issue Emergency Temporary Standard for workers due to coronavirus outbreak
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Sens. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezTrump appointee sparks bipartisan furor for politicizing media agency Senate Democrats hold talkathon to protest Barrett's Supreme Court nomination Watchdog confirms State Dept. canceled award for journalist who criticized Trump MORE (D-N.J.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayPlaintiff and defendant from Obergefell v. Hodges unite to oppose Barrett's confirmation Overnight Health Care: Trump takes criticism of Fauci to a new level | GOP Health Committee chairman defends Fauci | Birx confronted Pence about Atlas Government watchdog to investigate allegations of Trump interference at CDC, FDA MORE (D-Wash.) are calling on the Trump administration to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to protect workers from the spreading coronavirus.

The senators wrote to Labor Secretary Eugene ScaliaEugene ScaliaWhy millennials will win Trump's war on socially responsible investing Business groups, universities file lawsuit over new rules targeting H-1B visas Baldwin calls for Senate hearing on CDC response to meatpacking plant coronavirus outbreak MORE saying the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) within the Labor Department should announce an ETS after thousands of American workers are likely to be exposed to coronavirus due to their careers. They cited the “current and anticipated conditions” as reasons for OSHA to act. 

“The conditions on the ground seem to many observers to already satisfy the legal standards in the Occupational Safety and Health Act to justify OSHA issuing an ETS as health care workers, as well as other workers whose jobs involve interaction with the public, are clearly being exposed to ‘grave danger’ through exposure to the COVID-19 virus,” the letter said.

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The senators mentioned hundreds of health care workers, first responders, flight attendants, pilots, public transportation workers, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners, baggage handlers and social workers as being “on the frontline and have been, or are likely to, be exposed to COVID-19.”

“By not issuing an ETS, you will be failing to protect the countless other workers who are at elevated risk of being exposed to COVID-19 simply through their normal job duties,” the senators wrote. “As our nation’s response to COVID-19 continues and ramps up, it is imperative that you take a leadership role in protecting all workers during this public health emergency."

Sens. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinInfrastructure, energy investments urgently needed to create U.S. jobs Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing Baldwin calls for Senate hearing on CDC response to meatpacking plant coronavirus outbreak MORE (D-Wis.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownBrown says Biden's first moves as president should be COVID relief, voting rights Senators battle over Supreme Court nominee in rare Saturday session Sunday shows preview: Trump, Biden gear up for final sprint to Election Day MORE (D-Ohio), Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthAmy Coney Barrett's extreme views put women's rights in jeopardy Trump slight against Gold Star families adds to military woes McConnell focuses on confirming judicial nominees with COVID-19 talks stalled MORE (D-Ill.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDemocratic senators unveil bill to ban discrimination in financial services industry Obama endorses Espy in Mississippi Senate race Durbin says he will run for No. 2 spot if Dems win Senate majority MORE (D-N.J.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOvernight Defense: Dems want hearing on DOD role on coronavirus vaccine | US and India sign data-sharing pact | American citizen kidnapped in Niger Conservative operatives Wohl, Burkman charged in Ohio over false robocalls Senate Democrats want hearing on Pentagon vaccine effort MORE (D-Mass.) also joined in sending the letter.

The letter follows a request from the AFL-CIO and its president, Richard Trumka, asking union members to call their representatives to push for OSHA to issue the ETS and act in response to the outbreak.

“An Emergency Temporary Standard is needed to protect our workers from the current COVID-19 outbreak and future infectious agents. Will you call your representative now?” Trumka wrote in an email.

The coronavirus has infected more than 700 people in the U.S., spreading to 36 states and Washington, D.C., causing 27 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.