The Verdict is in: One Regulation Does Not Fit All

It’s a well known fact that not all industries are the same, and a single best practice that works well in one business may be completely out of place in another. It was this logic that helped the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) win a case last week with the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

When the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations made a request for OSHA to force the implementation of a universal safety standard due to COVID-19, ARTBA had objections. “Specifically, these organizations wanted OSHA to implement within 30 days a universal, ‘emergency temporary standard’ for infectious diseases which would cover all employees and all industries in response to the current pandemic,” it explains.

But, in a filing with other allies, ARTBA asked the court not to grant it because workers would be better protected by the industry’s own practices. The brief, the association explains, detailed why a uniform standard would be incorrect, since guidance for “the aviation industry would naturally be quite different from guidance directed at the banking industry, or the construction industry.”

The association found that the court agreed, citing the regulatory tools OSHA has to make sure companies maintain hazard-free work environments. “The OSHA reasonably determined that an [emergency standard] is not necessary at this time,” it ruled. 

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