July 9, 2021
The Honorable Patty Murray
The Honorable Richard Burr
Committee on Health, Education, Work and Pensions
United States Senate
The Honorable Robert C. “Bobby” Scott
The Honorable Virginie Foxx
Education and Labor Commission
House of Representatives
Material: Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration: occupational exposure to COVID-19; Temporary emergency standard
In accordance with Section 801 (a) (2) (A) of Title 5, United States Code, this is our report on a major rule promulgated by the Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) entitled “Occupational Exposure to COVID -19; Temporary Emergency Standard “(RIN: 1218-AD36). We received the rule on June 24, 2021. It was published in the Federal Register as an interim final rule; request for comment June 21, 2021. 86 Fed. Reg. 32376. The effective date is June 21, 2021.
According to OSHA, the Interim Final Rule establishes a Temporary Emergency Standard (ETS) to protect health care and health care support workers from occupational exposure to COVID-19 in environments where people with the disease of COVID-19 are reasonably likely to be present. During the emergency standard period, OSHA determined that covered healthcare employers must develop and implement a COVID-19 plan to identify and control the risks associated with COVID-19 at the workplace. job. OSHA said covered employers must also implement other requirements to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in their workplace, related to the following: patient screening and management; standard and transmission-based precautions; personal protective equipment, including face masks or respirators; controls for aerosol-generating procedures; physical distancing of at least 6 feet, when possible; Physical barriers; cleaning and disinfection; ventilation; medical screening and medical care; training; anti-retaliation; record keeping; and reports. OSHA said the standard published in the interim final rule encourages vaccination by requiring employers to allow reasonable time and paid time off for employee vaccinations and any side effects. OSHA further stated that the standard also encourages the use of respirators, when respirators are used in place of required face masks, by including a mini respiratory protection program that applies to such use. Finally, OSHA said the standard exempts from coverage certain workplaces where all employees are fully vaccinated and people potentially with COVID-19 are barred from entry; and it exempts from some of the requirements of the standard, fully immunized employees in well-defined areas where there is no reasonable expectation that people with COVID-19 will be present.
The Congressional Review Act (CRA) requires 60 days for the effective date of a major rule from the date of publication in the Federal Register or receipt of the rule by Congress, whichever is later. 5 USC Â§ 801 (a) (3) (A). The 60-day deadline for the effective date may be waived, however, if the agency believes for good reason that the delay is impracticable, unnecessary or contrary to the public interest, and the agency incorporates a statement conclusions and its reasons in the rule. Posted. 5 USC Â§ 808 (2). OSHA determined that it had good reason to make this rule effective upon publication, as it determined that the notice and comment procedures were impractical and contrary to the public interest, given the accelerated schedule on which ETS was developed and the serious danger threatening the life and health of healthcare workers. .
Attached is our assessment of OSHA’s compliance with the procedural steps required by Section 801 (a) (1) (B) (i) through (iv) of Title 5 in relation to the rule. If you have any questions about this report or would like to contact the GAO officials responsible for the assessment work relating to the purpose of the rule, please contact Shari Brewster, Deputy General Counsel, at (202) 512-6398.
Shirley A. Jones
Associate Legal Director
cc: Andrew Levinson
Standards and Guidelines Department
Ministry of Labour
REPORT UNDER 5 USC Â§ 801 (a) (2) (A) ON A MAJOR RULE
ISSUED BY THE
MINISTRY OF LABOUR,
OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
âOCCUPATIONAL EXPOSURE TO COVID-19;
TEMPORARY EMERGENCY STANDARD â
(i) Cost-benefit analysis
The Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimated that the interim final rule would result in costs of $ 3,969,645,432 and generate benefits, in the form of infections and deaths averted, amounting to $ 26,851,729,237, for a total net profit of $ 22,882,083,805.
(ii) Agency actions relating to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), 5 USC Â§Â§ 603-605, 607 and 609
OSHA has determined that an RFA test is impractical because OSHA enacted this interim final rule on an expedited basis in response to an emergency.
(iii) Agency actions regarding sections 202-205 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act 1995, 2 USC Â§Â§ 1532-1535
OSHA determined that the analysis required under the Act was supplemented by its analysis of the benefits and economic feasibility of the interim final rule.
(iv) Other relevant information or requirements under laws and decrees
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 USC Â§Â§ 551 et seq.
OSHA waived the notice and comment procedures for good cause. OSHA has determined that it has good reason due to the critical importance of implementing the requirements of this Temporary Emergency Standard (ETS), including the record keeping and reporting provisions, as soon as possible to address the serious danger COVID-19 presents to healthcare workers.
Red Tape Reduction Act (PRA), 44 USC Â§Â§ 3501-3520
OSHA has determined that the Interim Final Rule contains information gathering requirements (ICR) that are subject to the Act. The ICRs are titled âTemporary Emergency COVID-19 Standard (29 Part CFR 1910, Subpart U)â and are associated with Control Number 1218-0277 of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). OSHA estimated that ICRs would result in a burden of 19,260,202 hours and a cost of $ 3,016,812.57. OSHA stated that it had received permission from the OMB to use emergency procedures under the PRA for this ETS and that it had submitted the ICRs to the OMB for approval.
Legal authorization of the rule
OSHA promulgated the Interim Final Rule pursuant to Section 553 of Title 5; and Articles 653, 655 and 657 of Title 29, United States Code.
Executive Decree No. 12866 (Planning and Revision of Regulations)
OSHA has said the interim final rule is economically important and has been reviewed by the OMB.
Executive Decree No. 13132 (Federalism)
OSHA said it has reviewed the interim final rule under the order and found it to be in compliance with the order.