Policy and Legal

Policy and Legal

Manufacturers Await Possible COVID-19 Regulations

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The NAM is preparing manufacturers for a possible Emergency Temporary Standard that could be issued at the outset of the Biden administration.

What it is: An ETS is a set of mandatory rules and regulations for employers, issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Department of Labor.

What it’s for: An ETS would be intended to protect the health and safety of workers. While manufacturers are encouraged to follow CDC guidance as they develop and implement their own tailored plans to protect against COVID-19, an ETS could impose compulsory requirements on manufacturing operations, HR departments and safety protocols.

What it includes: There’s no concrete information yet about the text of an ETS, but possible new requirements for manufacturers might include:

  • Written plans for stopping the spread of COVID-19;
  • A comprehensive assessment of COVID-19 hazards throughout the workplace and a clear plan for diminishing or eliminating those hazards;
  • Expanded definitions of terms like “positive COVID-19 case,” “high-risk exposure period” and “physical distancing”;
  • Requirements that employees are tested for COVID-19 in some scenarios and paid for the time spent taking tests;
  • Increased recordkeeping and reporting on safety procedures; and
  • Additional requirements for employees to receive paid leave and testing.

What we’re doing: The NAM has already begun its outreach to the incoming Biden administration to discuss the workplace investments, increased safety protocols and best practices that manufacturers have implemented during the pandemic.

  • As part of those conversations, the NAM will also make sure the incoming administration understands the impact of an ETS on vaccine and therapeutics production, supply chains and other essential manufacturing operations.
  • It will also educate NAM members via webinars, direct outreach and labor and employment updates so they can be prepared for any changes.

The last word: “Manufacturers are playing a critical role in fighting this pandemic, even as they go above and beyond to support the health and safety of their employees,” said NAM Director of Labor and Employment Policy Drew Schneider.

“The NAM will never stop working to ensure manufacturers have the tools and support they need to take on that challenge. And we will make sure that the incoming administration, the Labor Department and OSHA have the best possible information about how their actions impact the manufacturing industry and the nation.”

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