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Unions sue OSHA over lack of standard for infectious diseases



A coalition of unions representing education, health care and municipal workers on Thursday sued the US Secretary of Labor and the Department of the Environment for the lack of a standard to protect workers from infectious diseases.

Suit, filed in the 9th American Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco by the American Federation of Teachers; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; Washington State Nurses Association; and the United Nurses Association of California / Union of Health Care Professionals, document years of delays in creating a standard that would provide employers with guidance on managing communicable disease outbreaks.

The plaintiffs claimed that they had asked OSHA to create a standard more than a decade ago, writing that the Federal Board of Appeal "has the right to issue mandates" to "force government action unlawfully withheld or unreasonably delayed." The unions asked the court to "require OSHA to issue a notice on the proposed standard for the standard within 90 days of the court's mandamus decision and to proceed on a priority, faster basis for issuing a standard immediately."

"Even before the COVID-1

9 pandemic, infectious diseases caused 1.7 million healthcare-associated infections each year in the United States," the suit states. These infections are dangerous and some can be fatal ( eg tuberculosis, bacterial meningitis or Ebola). OSHA recognized this risk and began the regulatory process to issue a responsive standard. "

As of 2016," OSHA was about to issue the necessary standard and estimated that it would be completed in 2017. Instead, after a change in administration, OSHA kept the regulations entirely and has refused to perform its statutory obligations – even amid the deadliest pandemic in a century, which conservatives estimate has infected more than 190,000 healthcare workers in the United States and claimed more than 770 of their lives. OSHA's decade-long delay is unreasonable and illegal, ”the lawsuit states.

Officials with OSHA could not be immediately reached for comment.

More insurance and workers' compensation news about the coronavirus crisis here [19659008].

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