EDITORIAL: Vulnerable workers exploited by GOP politicization of OSHA pandemic requirements

In this  file photo, workers assemble orders in a Washington assembly plant.  (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The latest hollering hokum from government leaders fighting against science and common sense imperils the lives and livelihoods of the nation’s hardest working and most vulnerable workers.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the nation’s South astonishingly granted a stay Saturday against the Biden Administration’s employee vaccinate-or-test mandate, relenting to specious arguments from befuddling Louisiana state officials.

 “The president will not impose medical procedures on the American people without the checks and balances afforded by the Constitution,” Louisiana state Attorney General Jeff Landry, a Republican, said in a statement, according to a story by the Associated Press.

The move effectively stopped the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration from protecting the health of the nation’s most vulnerable and often essential workers by ensuring those who must work with others be as protected as possible from exposure to the virulent coronavirus.

The new regulations are unequivocal in how OSHA plans to make the workplace safer for hundreds of millions of susceptible workers and still provide flexibility to employees and employers in achieving this crucial goal.

The measure orders companies with more than 100 employees to require workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 — or —  take COVID-19 tests regularly and wear masks in the workplace by Jan. 4, 2022.

The choice goes to the employee. No one is being forced to take the vaccine, or any other medical treatment.

The hyperbolic wail from Landry and a handful of other anti-science Republican officials, controlling other unfortunate states, has tried to overlook the most important part of this new OSHA regulation: “or.”

Employees who work in factories, buildings, plants, restaurants and offices, often shoulder to shoulder, exposing them to the deadly coronavirus, can take the advice of every credible medical doctor and researcher in the nation and vaccinate against the coronavirus.  “Or,” they can simply prove, with an easy, non-invasive COVD-19 test, that they are not subjecting their fellow workers to a potential death sentence from the highly infectious, debilitating and too-often deadly coronavirus.

So far, 3,257,025 Americans have been hospitalized because of COVID-19. So far, 747,970 Americans have died from COVID-19. In Colorado, hospitals are now so short of beds, and especially ICU beds, because of the flood of COVID-19 victims, that medical care is being rationed to prevent an outright disaster.

To imply or insist that this is anything but a deadly and catastrophic pandemic is a farcical and treacherous lie.

For generations, OSHA has successfully protected hundreds of millions of workers from dubious employers who don’t want to spend the time or money to ensure safe workplaces.

The nation need not look any further than the historical debacle of corrupt coal mine owners in the South to understand the critical importance and benefit of OSHA creating safe workplaces for people who rarely have the power to enforce such matters on their own.

Disinformation from Landry and others is a direct threat to not only American workers, but their vulnerable families and communities as well.

“Never before has the federal government tried in a such a forceful way to get between the choices of an American citizen and their doctor,” Landry said. “To me that’s the heart of the entire issue.”

The argument is right off of the newscasts of tabloid-TV shows like Fox News, giving endless life to such deadly, politicized disinformation that serves only to perpetuate the pandemic, costing the lives of potentially hundreds of thousands of more Americans.

For decades, OSHA, and state and local health officials, have either forced businesses or stood behind businesses in efforts to keep employees and the public safe from disease and injury in the workplace.

The weakness in the Biden Administration’s new regulations is that they overlook the hundreds of thousands of smaller businesses whose workers are equally at risk of contracting COVID-19 without adequate prevention or protection.

The measure in no way inserts the government ”between the choices of an American citizen and their doctor,” it only requires all workers to adopt sound medical advice or at the very least, prove they aren’t a deadly risk to fellow workers, who shouldn’t be required to pay with their lives to keep their paycheck.

The OSHA rules relieve businesses of having to suffer expected politicized bunk by allowing them to point to having just followed the law to protect American workers.

Congress should immediately take up the mantle to shore up the OSHA regulation and head off trouble from other judges wielding dubious legal and anti-science judgment without speedy oversight of their politicized blunders.



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