Head of Federal Worker Safety Agency Refuses to Say Whether COVID-19 Is a Grave Danger to American Workers

WASHINGTON – During yesterday’s Subcommittee on Workforce Protections hearing, Chairwoman Alma Adams (NC-12) asked Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Loren Sweatt if the COVID-19 pandemic “presents a grave danger to workers.”

Ms. Sweatt, who leads the federal agency responsible for the safety of U.S. workers, refused to answer.  

COVID-19 has caused more deaths among workers in a shorter period of time than any other health emergency since the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 50 years ago. Current data likely underestimate the shocking toll of COVID-19 on workers and their families, because OSHA has no national system for tracking workplace infections. 

The same question was then addressed to Dr. John Howard, Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. He responded “yes” without hesitation.



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