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.
“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.”
The National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, passionately advocates for the people, brands, policies and ideas that help retail thrive. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., NRF empowers the industry that powers the economy. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, contributing $3.9 trillion to annual GDP and supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 52 million working Americans. For over a century, NRF has been a voice for every retailer and every retail job, educating, inspiring and communicating the powerful impact retail has on local communities and global economies.