A congressional committee has okayed a bill to move to a vote on the House floor. The bill would require agencies to develop a safety plan.
In 2021, one of the representatives from Virginia, Gerry Connolly, introduced a bill that would’ve required federal agencies to produce an emergency plan for continuing operations during the coronavirus pandemic. Although that piece of potential legislation failed to get committee approval, Rep. Connolly made some tweaks to last year’s bill and introduced it again. The newer version, named the “Chai Suthammanaont Healthy Federal Workplaces Act,” was approved during a September 20th panel meeting of the House of Representatives’ Oversight and Reform committee, with bipartisan support. Unlike the previous iteration, the latest proposed legislation would mandate federal agencies to establish a set of procedures to follow in the event of a future public health crisis, not just the ongoing COVID-19 situation
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The main aim of the newer bill is to ensure the health, safety, and wellbeing of civil servants in the event of another health crisis similar to the current pandemic as so the major operations of government agencies are not as interfered with as when the coronavirus outbreak first struck in March of 2020. The bill itself is named in honor a federal employee who passed away in May of 2020 due to complications involving the virus. He was 68 years old.
Workplace Safety Plans
The plans that would be required to be put in place by agencies would have to lay out rules and protocols to follow in the event of a similar health crisis. Additionally, ongoing safety maintenance procedures would need to be established in the health plan. These would include the regular testing and cleaning of equipment, abiding stringent occupancy limits in federal workspaces, and having personal protective equipment ready for use in the event of a public health emergency. These safety plans would need to be published online, shared and explained to employees and contractors, and Inspector Generals would be responsible for providing updates to Congress on the implementation of their specific agency’s plan.
Until Next Time,
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