Gov. McMaster said warning from federal government over workplace safety is a “preemptive strike”

South Carolina News

In this Aug. 9, 2021, photo, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster talks about the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic at a news conference in Columbia, S.C. Top Republicans are battling school districts in their own states’ urban, heavily Democratic areas over whether students should be required to mask up as they head back to school. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – Governor Henry McMaster said Wednesday a recent warning from the federal government over the state’s COVID-19 safety rules is a “preemptive strike” and that South Carolina will begin preparations for a vigorous and lengthy legal fight.

It comes after the U.S. Labor Department threatened to revoke authority for three states – including South Carolina – over how they handle workplace safety enforcement after the three states refused to adopt rules protecting health care workers from COVID-19.

According to the Associated Press, OSHA officials say Arizona, South Carolina and Utah are not complying with their promises to enforce labor standards “that are at least as good as those adopted by the federal government.”

OSHA previously gave up its authority to enforce workplace safety laws and regulations for the private sector in 22 states. These states were expected to adopt ruled as affected, if not better, than federal regulations when it comes to protecting workers.

Gov. McMaster said, “With no state regulators in the way, the federal Labor Department will be free to penalize employers who do not comply with President Biden’s unconstitutional vaccine mandate.”

He said to protect employers in the state, he’s instructed South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Director Emily Farr to immediately begin preparations for a vigorous and lengthy legal fight.

“We are disappointed that federal OSHA has decided to take this step against our very successful state OSHA program,” said Farr in a statement to the Associated Press.

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