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SPLC: New OSHA Safety Standards Fail Workers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Julia Solórzano, a staff attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) Immigrant Justice Project, released the following statement responding to Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) issuance of an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for the COVID-19 pandemic.  
 
“Although the federally enforceable workplace standard announced today requires safety measures like social distancing to protect workers, the ETS is limited to healthcare and fails to cover several key industries that have seen high levels of worker infection and death during the pandemic. 
 
“The new standard’s failure to include many workers, particularly Black and Brown and immigrant workers, who work in already dangerous but essential industries like agriculture and poultry and meat processing, is deeply disappointing.  
 
“Essential workers employed on the frontlines have borne the brunt of COVID-19 and have been expected to sacrifice their own health and the health of their loved ones. No worker is disposable and no one should be expected to forfeit their safety and dignity for a corporation’s production speed. It’s time we champion workers, and their right to a safe and dignified workplace.  
 
“Aggressive action is still needed to truly address a pandemic that has taken the lives of so many of the frontline workers who have kept food on our tables over the last year. The federal government must not allow this exploitation to continue. Action for these workers is long overdue and needs to happen now.”