By James L. Curtis and Craig B. Simonsen

Seyfarth Synopsis: The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) had brought suit in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals against the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, through an Emergency Petition For A Writ Of Mandamus, and Request For Expedited Briefing And Disposition, No. 19-1158 (May 18, 2020). The Petition has today been denied.

The AFL-CIO sought to compel the respondent, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), to “issue—within thirty (30) days of this Court’s grant of the writ—an Emergency Temporary Standard for Infectious Diseases (ETS) aimed at protecting the life and health of millions of workers throughout the United States in grave danger from the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.”

The three-judge panel denied the Labor Federation’s petition for a writ of mandamus to make OSHA issue an “emergency temporary standard” covering the virus. The Court said that “in light of the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the regulatory tools that OSHA has at its disposal to ensure that employers are maintaining hazard-free work environments, see 29 U.S.C. § 654(a), OSHA reasonably determined that an ETS is not necessary at this time.”

“OSHA’s decision not to issue an ETS is entitled to considerable deference.”

For more information on this or any related topic, please contact the authors, your Seyfarth attorney, or any member of the Workplace Safety and Health (OSHA/MSHA) Team.