The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulation requiring workers at companies with 100 or more employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing has been revived.
The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted a stay on the OSHA vaccine mandate late Friday. The mandate had been paused since Nov. 6, challenged by states that believe the Biden administration does not have the legal authority to implement a nationwide policy for worker vaccinations.
“Fundamentally, the [vaccine regulation] is an important step in curtailing the transmission of a deadly virus that has killed over 800,000 people in the United States, brought our health care system to its knees, forced businesses to shut down for months on end, and cost hundreds of thousands of workers their jobs,” Circuit Judge Jane B. Stranch wrote.
The OSHA rule is one of two federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates that affect thousands of home-based care providers. The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) similarly has an embattled rule for health care workers of providers subject to Medicare and Medicaid Conditions of Participation (CoPs).
“To account for any uncertainty created by the stay,” OSHA is exercising enforcement discretion with respect to the compliance dates of the vaccination rule, it announced.
To provide employers with sufficient time to come into compliance, OSHA will not issue citations for noncompliance with any requirements of the rule before Jan.10. It will not issue citations for noncompliance with the standard’s testing requirements before Feb. 9, so long as an employer is “exercising reasonable, good faith efforts to come into compliance with the standard.”
“OSHA can now once again implement this vital workplace health standard, which will protect the health of workers by mitigating the spread of the unprecedented virus in the workplace,” the agency said in its announcement.
The mandate – which covers an estimated 84 million workers – was previously set to take effect Jan. 4. The Biden administration projects the mandate will save 6,500 lives and prevent 250,000 hospitalizations over six months.
The COVID-19 situation in the U.S. has taken a turn since the Omicron variant surfaced toward the end of November. Currently, cases are doubling every 1.5 to 3 days, with new Omicron cases popping up in more and more states.
“The one thing that’s very clear, and there’s no doubt about this, is its extraordinary capability of spreading, its transmissibility capability. It is just, you know, raging through the world,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease expert, told NBC. “And if you look even here in the United States, you have some regions that start off with a few percent of the isolates that are positive, now going up to 30%, 40% – and some places 50%.”
As a result of Friday legal development, anti-mandate groups are now asking the Supreme Court for a new emergency stay.
This article was written by Robert Holly on December 19th, 2021 for Home Health Care News and can be found here. Please be sure to visit HomeHealthCareNews.com for more articles written by Robert and other quality contributors.