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OSHA COVID-19 Vaccine, Testing Rule Moves Forward

Posted on 10/12/2021 by Roseanne Bottone and Lauren Scott

Update (10/20/2021)

OSHA will host meetings with public and private sector stakeholders throughout the week as its COVID-19 vaccine and testing ETS move towards approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). 

Organizations meeting with OSHA this week include the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Restaurant Association, the National Retail Federation, the National Safety Council, law firms, chambers of commerce, large employers with covered workers nationwide, and others. 

Update (10/13/2021)

OSHA submitted its emergency temporary standard concerning vaccination and COVID-19 testing for covered employers to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review on October 12, 2021 (View at reginfo.gov). 

A Final Rule will appear in the Federal Register following approval. 

Original post (9/13/2021) 

According to the White House website, President Biden has ordered the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue a vaccination mandate for certain private, large employers as part of a comprehensive COVID-19 strategy.

The President seeks to reduce the number of unvaccinated Americans by using regulatory power. As part of this initiative, OSHA is slated to publish an “emergency temporary standard” in the Federal Register compelling private employers with 100 or more workers to ensure their employees are vaccinated, or the company will be required to conduct weekly testing of unvaccinated employees.

The administration will require these same employers to provide paid time off to allow workers to get vaccinated or to recover if they become sick after receiving the shot.

This mandate is expected to affect tens of millions of workers. The new regulation is intended to deal with the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus that is causing more than 150,000 new COVID-19 cases and 1,500 deaths every day in the US.
 

Does OSHA Have Authority?

Does OSHA have the authority to enact these standards? According to their website, “Under certain limited conditions, OSHA is authorized to set emergency temporary standards that take effect immediately and are in effect until superseded by a permanent standard.” OSHA must determine that workers are in grave danger and that an emergency standard is needed to protect them.
 

The Procedure

The agency will publish the emergency temporary standard requiring vaccinations in the Federal Register. When they do so, it will also serve as a proposed rule subject to the usual rulemaking procedures – with the difference that if a final rule is enacted, it must be promulgated within six months of publication.

The validity of an emergency temporary standard may be challenged in an appropriate U.S. Court of Appeals.
 

COVID-19 Safety Awareness Online Training

To help US workplaces safely resume and continue operations, Lion launched the COVID-19 Employee Safety Awareness Online Course. The course is designed to help satisfy training mandates for employees concerning COVID-19, preparing employees to: 
  • Recognize signs, symptoms, and risk factors for COVID-19.
  • Describe how the COVID-19 disease is transmitted.
  • Follow recommended hygiene and work protocols to prevent exposure.
  • Properly use and care for PPE and face coverings, when required. 
This self-paced online course is updated regularly to reflect evolving information on COVID-19 workplace exposure. As more employees nationwide return to work, it is crucial that they know how to protect themselves and their co-workers from exposure to COVID-19.
 

Tags: coronavirus, COVID-19, osha, workplace safety

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