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Retailers express concern about OSHA emergency regulation regarding COVID-19

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WASHINGTON – The National Retail Federation today expressed concern about a possible Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) emergency temporary standard regarding COVID-19. NRF urged OSHA to continue to issue industry-specific guidance concerning COVID-19.

NRF“Over the past year, retailers have taken extraordinary precautions to protect the health and safety of customers and employees during this global health crisis,” said NRF senior vice president of Government Relations David French. “NRF has worked extensively with the CDC, OSHA and state and local health agencies to ensure that retailers continue to utilize safety protocols and standards that in many cases exceed government-issued regulations.”

In January, President Biden issued an executive order directing OSHA, which is responsible for establishing workplace requirements, to issue emergency temporary standards for COVID-19 by March 15.

NRF is concerned about the possibly of OSHA issuing a rigid, one-size-fits-all emergency regulation, particularly during a global pandemic that has already imposed substantial economic hardship on businesses. An OSHA regulation — especially one promulgated without the benefit of the normal notice and comment process — could distract from retailers’ existing safety efforts that are effectively protecting employees and customers from the dangers of COVID-19.

NRF submitted a statement ahead of today’s House Committee on Education and Labor hearing on “Clearing the Air: Science-Based Strategies to Protect Workers from COVID-19 Infections.”

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