President Biden Issues Executive Order on Workplace Safety and COVID-19

Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Written By Employment Screening Resources® (ESR)

On January 21, 2021, President Joe Biden issued an “Executive Order on Protecting Worker Health and Safety” to ensure the health and safety of workers during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that has caused the death of more than 440,000 people in America since the start of 2020. “The Federal Government must take swift action to reduce the risk that workers may contract COVID-19 in the workplace,” the Executive Order stated.

“That will require issuing science-based guidance to help keep workers safe from COVID-19 exposure, including with respect to mask-wearing; partnering with State and local governments to better protect public employees; enforcing worker health and safety requirements; and pushing for additional resources to help employers protect employees,” the Executive Order, which shall be implemented consistent with applicable law, continued.

In an effort to provide enforcement of more stringent workplace safety standards, the Executive Order from the White House specifically ordered the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) – an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that is dedicated to keeping the American workforce safe and healthy – to complete the following tasks to help ensure the safety of workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Issue, within 2 weeks of the date of this order and in conjunction or consultation with the heads of any other appropriate executive departments and agencies (agencies), revised guidance to employers on workplace safety during the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Consider whether any emergency temporary standards on COVID-19, including with respect to masks in the workplace, are necessary, and if such standards are determined to be necessary, issue them by March 15, 2021;
  • Review the enforcement efforts of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) related to COVID-19 and identify any short-, medium-, and long-term changes that could be made to better protect workers and ensure equity in enforcement;
  • Launch a national program to focus OSHA enforcement efforts related to COVID-19 on violations that put the largest number of workers at serious risk or are contrary to anti-retaliation principles; and
  • Coordinate with the Department of Labor’s Office of Public Affairs and Office of Public Engagement and all regional OSHA offices to conduct, consistent with applicable law, a multilingual outreach campaign to inform workers and their representatives of their rights under applicable law. This campaign shall include engagement with labor unions, community organizations, and industries, and place a special emphasis on communities hit hardest by the pandemic.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a potentially deadly respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. As of February 3, 2021, there are approximately 103 million global cases and 2.2 million global deaths, while the United States leads the world with approximately 26.4 million cases and 446,000 deaths, according to research by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU).

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check provider – has used best practices for background check processing during the Coronavirus pandemic to help clients adjust to the new normal while operating under a business continuity plan, which in large part involved ESR employees telecommuting and working remotely in full compliance with its Written Information Security Policy (WISP).

ESR also released a white paper about COVID-19 written by ESR founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Attorney Lester Rosen that was titled “Due Diligence and Background Checks in the Age of Coronavirus – What is an Employer to Do?” to help employers deal with the Coronavirus pandemic that caused the near-total shutdown of many sectors of the economy that severely affected how and when employers hire and screen workers.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – which was named the number one screening firm by HRO Today in 2020 – uses best practices for background checks during COVID-19, offers a white paper about background checks in the Age Coronavirus, and posts blogs about how the Coronavirus affects background screening for employers on the ESR News Blog. To learn more about ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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