COVID-19 and health care workers: Walsh reiterates that permanent rule likely before year’s end

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Walsh-2.jpg

Photo: Senate Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee

Washington — Echoing comments made by OSHA administrator Doug Parker during a hearing three weeks earlier, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said a permanent standard on COVID-19 for the health care industry may be published sometime in the fall.

Walsh testified before the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee on June 15 – a day after appearing before the House Education and Labor Committee.

During the June 15 hearing, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), chair of the subcommittee, asked Walsh for an update on the forthcoming permanent standard. OSHA withdrew the non-recordkeeping parts of its emergency temporary standard for COVID-19 focused on health care workers Dec. 27 – around six months after it first went into effect.

“I believe it will be done in the next three to six months.” Walsh said.

“Three to six months from now?” Murray asked.

“Yes. It’s the rulemaking process,” Walsh responded. “I would love to speed it up, but, unfortunately, it’s the process that’s in place that we have to work under.”

Walsh also noted that OSHA is continuing its work on a standard on infectious diseases. According to the Department of Labor’s latest regulatory agenda, issued Dec. 10, that standard would be aimed at the health care industry and other “high-risk environments.”

The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs is expected to publish an updated regulatory agenda in the near future.

Mining deaths

During both hearings, Walsh highlighted a recent increase in mine worker fatalities. The labor secretary told Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-NM) separately that his department had a call with “some of the major mining companies in America” to talk about sharing best practices on safety.

According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration, 37 mining fatalities were recorded last year – up from 29 in 2020. As of June 15, the agency had reported 12 miner deaths this year.

“Something I did when I was the mayor of Boston when we had high shootings is we brought all the stakeholders to the table. We did the same thing with the mining industry,” Walsh told Capito. “We need to make sure we stay on top of it.”


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

MSHA offering more than $10.5M in safety grants

First published by MSHA

Grants support underserved mines, miners

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration today announced the availability of more than $10.5 million in fiscal year 2022 state grant funding to provide federally mandated training and retraining of miners and mine operators working at surface and underground coal and metal and nonmetal mines.

Any state in which mining takes place may apply for the grant. MSHA may fund 80 percent of the program costs under a state grant, and the state must provide at least 20 percent of the total program costs.

The closing date for applications is July 25, 2022. MSHA will award grants on or before Sept. 30, 2022.

MSHA recognizes that state training programs are a key source of mine safety and health training and education for individuals who work or will work at mines. MSHA encourages state training programs to prioritize training for small mining operations and underserved mines and miners within the mining industry. The agency also emphasizes training on miners’ statutory rights provided in the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, as amended.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.