January 11, 2021
President-elect Joseph Biden
1401 Constitution Ave., NW Suite 38038
Washington, DC 20230
Dear President-Elect Biden:
The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) applauds your recent Statement on the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. We also celebrate the many ways that the OSHA Act and OSHA have improved the health and safety of American workers and workplaces.
We are gratified that you recognize that “OSHA has been prevented from using its full range of tools to protect workers”. Although your specific comments focused on the horrific consequences of the current pandemic, we trust that you also recognize that structural and political limitations have more generally prevented OSHA from protecting the health and safety of American workers.
Establishment of an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to ensure worker safety in the face of COVID- 19 is an important step. We further hope that that your statement represents more than just a first step, but the beginning of an on-going process that will lead to a revitalization of OSHA.
On December 2
, we wrote to you that “ACOEM urges a more proactive approach to workplace health and safety" (see attached prior letter). First on our list of specific requests was the ETS that you have just addressed. We ask that you consider the other items on our “OSHA wish list”. In particular, we ask that you direct OSHA to vigorously enforce existing standards and regulations, including both existing OSHA Standards and the General Duty clause that have long served to provide safer workplaces for American workers.
Once again, we express our hopes for your future success. We extend to you our willingness to contribute, relying on our members’ enthusiasm and expertise, to assist you and your administration. Please do not hesitate to ask our help.
Beth Baker, MD, MPH, FACOEM
cc: The Honorable Martin Walsh
Attachment: Dec. 2 letter to President-elect Biden