Effective today, January 26, 2022, OSHA has announced that it’s withdrawing the vaccination and emergency temporary standard (ETS) issued on November 5, 2021 due to it being declared as unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court. This regulation was promoted by the Biden administration to vaccinate all workplaces with over 100 employees against Covid-19, but as it was blocked in the courts, it therefore affects OSHA’s ability to enforce it.
the Ruling Means for Employers
The Supreme Court ruled 6 to 3 on this mandate outcome that would affect over 80 million people. The ruling stated that the ETS was a public health measure that went beyond OSHA’s authority to regulate occupational hazards. This means that any ongoing lawsuits or legal proceedings regarding the nationwide mandate in state or local courts will be dropped, although state by state, local, and company headed mandates can still be in effect, like those in New York City.
Many companies implemented the mandate’s requirements before it finished going through the courts. They can still keep the policy if they want to, although some are now choosing to redact the vaccination requirement due to the Supreme Court’s decision to block the rule. As an employer, you’re able to adjust your workplace vaccination requirements as you see fit, as long as it doesn’t violate local or state laws that have been put in place. Twenty states currently prohibit the use of proof of vaccination restrictions, while five states have enacted proof of vaccination status laws and limitations.
The Future of COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates
Even though OSHA will not be able to enact and enforce the vaccination mandate, it’s prioritizing the development of a permanent COVID-19 Healthcare Standard for finalization in the near future. “OSHA continues to strongly encourage the vaccination of workers against the continuing dangers posed by COVID-19 in the workplace,” OSHA wrote in the notice of its withdrawal.
It’s important to keep in mind that the Supreme Court ruled on the same day that the vaccination requirement can still be enacted in healthcare facilities that are receiving funding from Medicare and Medicaid. This allowance by the Court does result in speculations for further industry specific mandates for high density food production and other jobs, although private employers will most likely remain protected from nationwide vaccination requirements from here on out.
Safety For All Needs
As the pandemic progresses and requirements vary state by state and business to business, implementing basic visual safety measures can be beneficial to support company policies and best practice behavior. When it comes to visual safety and compliance needs, visit our resources for environmental health and safety professionals where we cover key topics on regulation updates, proper sign content, and more.