Policy and Legal

Policy and Legal

Manufacturers Support Federal Guidelines for Essential Businesses

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We’ve begun to see our states and towns return to lockdowns—usually with very different rules than their neighbors. But this time around, manufacturers want to avoid the uncertainty and inconsistency of the spring shutdowns, so the NAM is calling on all state and local leaders to follow federal guidance on designating essential workers. Here’s a quick review of that guidance, put forward by Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

What it is: The “Essential Critical Infrastructure Worker” guidance was initially drafted after shelter-in-place orders contributed to temporary product shortages in the spring, exposing vulnerabilities in U.S. supply chains and essential services. In response, most states directly adopted the CISA guidance to create a measure of stability.

The guidance lists the types of workers supporting critical supply chains and infrastructure in areas like health care, telecommunications, food and agriculture and transportation—basically, a comprehensive explanation of which roles are necessary to keep the country safe and moving.

The latest version: The guidance includes the latest safety recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The most recent update recommends a “risk mitigation strategy” to help employers maintain worker safety, which includes:

  • Creating a methodology for understanding potential risks to workers, taking into account factors like close contact between workers and indoor vs. outdoor activities;
  • Identifying workers who could potentially work from home;
  • Assessing how critical or unique any given worker’s role is in order to limit the number of employees working together onsite; and
  • Examining the allocation of scarce resources for workers based on the availability of safety measures like PPE and testing.

The last word: “Manufacturers are the backbone of America’s COVID-19 response and economic recovery, and we are committed to operating in a safe and sustainable way as we weather this crisis,” said NAM Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy Rachel Jones. “The CISA guidance provides a clear, useful and uniform mechanism for state and local governments and business leaders to identify what must safely keep running. We urge all state and local governments and businesses to adopt the CISA framework and follow its recommendations.”

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