The AFL-CIO yesterday asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to order the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue within 30 days an emergency temporary standard to protect U.S. workers from COVID-19 under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.

The AFL-CIO and National Nurses United petitioned OSHA in March to issue an emergency temporary standard under section 6(c) of the Act. The court has ordered the Department of Labor to respond to the unions’ petition by 4 p.m. Friday, May 29 and the unions to reply to the department’s response by Tuesday, June 2.

The petition does not specify the precise contents of an emergency standard and if compelled by the court to comply, the department would have a good deal of discretion in creating such a standard.

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