The Labor Dept.’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) emergency temporary standard or ETS goes into effect on January 4th, 2022…
It would affect millions of businesses….
The media is highlighting the vaccine part of the action, but the rule also allows employee’s to provide testing results weekly as a walk around getting shots….
Most state’s already have virus mandates for their employee’s and health and food service businesses…..
There is going to be a LOT confusion on this and mandate ‘wars’ between Washington and Southern and Western states where the virus case level’s are the highest will escalate ….
The task given to OSHA to implement and enforce is HUIGE…..
Legal challenges will be mounted against the Biden admin action….
The Politics of this?
OSHA has never followed thru an ETS action in the past…..
On Friday, officials at the Department of Labor, which oversees OSHA, declined to comment on how they plan to implement the vaccine mandate. Many questions about the process ahead remain unanswered.
Among the most pressing: How long will businesses have to comply with the mandate, and how will OSHA enforce it? Should the mandate include other workplace safety requirements — such as masking and social distancing — to prevent workplace transmission? Should businesses be required to communicate any exposures or outbreaks to their workers? And will OSHA provide federal funding to cover the cost of Biden’s requirement that workers be compensated for time off to get the vaccine and recover from any side effects? Or will those costs fall on employers?
OSHA officials will proceed under broad authorities granted the agency by the Occupational Safety and Health Act, adopted in the 1970s. The act gives the Labor secretary authority to create a rule in times of duress — called an emergency temporary standard or ETS — to protect employees from “grave danger from exposure to substances or agents determined to be toxic or physically harmful or from new hazards.” The ETS process allows the agency to circumvent months of hearings and public comment normally required to implement a new safety rule.
Many previous efforts — to regulate exposure to Benzene, a toxic chemical found in plastic, detergents and pesticides in 1977 and the carcinogen asbestos in 1983 — were squashed after successful challenges in the courts.
Analysts predicted that an ETS for the vaccine mandate may also have a tough road ahead.
“An emergency temporary standard is an extraordinarily difficult route to go for OSHA,” said Baruch Fellner, an occupational safety lawyer at the firm Gibson Dunn. “OSHA has never succeeded in promulgating an emergency temporary standard. Not only has it never succeeded in promulgating emergency temporary standards, in most instances, when confronted normally by unions asking for or otherwise filing a lawsuit to obtain an ETS, it has declined to pursue that, recognizing the legal hurdles.”
At the outset of his presidency, Biden directed the agency to study the feasibility of such a standard. But he shied away from it this spring as vaccination rates soared and hopes rose that the end of the pandemic was near.
Instead, the White House opted for a limited rule that required medical facilities where coronavirus patients are treated to implement mandatory mask-wearing, social distancing, and cleaning and disinfecting procedures, and to notify workers when they are exposed to infections. It also required employers to provide paid time off for workers to get vaccinated. That rule has so far escaped legal challenge….
“The power of OSHA regulation is not enforcement. It’s that most employers want to follow the law,” said David Michaels, who headed the agency under former president Barack Obama….
Retail response which has economy ramifications….
The new guidance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will cover 84 million workers, who will be required by Jan. 4 to be fully vaccinated or undergo weekly testing.
“Retailers have consistently requested that the administration take public comment on this new vaccine mandate,” David French, the group’s senior vice president for government relations, said in a statement. “It is critical that the rule not cause unnecessary disruption to the economy, exacerbate the pre-existing work force shortage or saddle retailers, who are already taking considerable steps to keep their employees and customers safe, with needless additional requirements and regulatory burdens.”
Retail is the second-biggest private employment sector in the United States, after health care, and the industry is concerned about a tight labor market, particularly as it heads into a holiday season that is expected to be much busier than it was in 2020. The group wrote a letter to Martin J. Walsh, the labor secretary, last month, saying that any emergency order around vaccines “could significantly diminish the labor pool, particularly in some geographic areas and amongst some demographics in which vaccine hesitancy is widespread.”…
The ‘politics’ of this and the economy ARE gonna be very interesting even with the testing ‘walk around’…..