WASHINGTON — The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced that it is suspending the enforcement of the vaccine mandate from the Biden administration.
On Nov. 12, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit granted a motion to stay on OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS).
“The court ordered that OSHA ‘take no steps to implement or enforce’ the ETS ‘until further court order,’" the agency said on its website. “While OSHA remains confident in its authority to protect workers in emergencies, OSHA has suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement of the ETS pending future developments in the litigation.”
In a previous statement from the White House and OSHA, any US company that employed more than 100 people was going to need to have their workforce vaccinated by Jan. 4 or test for COVID-19 on a weekly basis.
If implemented again, the OSHA rule would cover more than 84 million employees or about two-thirds of the US workforce. The industry initially shared varied sentiments for the vaccine policy.
The Biden administration is encouraging all workers and businesses to continue to follow the guidance and vaccinate people even with the legal challenge.
“We think people should not wait,” said Karine Jean-Pierre, deputy press secretary, in a recent White House briefing. “We say do not wait to take actions that will keep your workplace safe. It is important and critical to do and waiting to get more people vaccinated will lead to more outbreaks and sickness.”
Meat and poultry companies have started to implement their own vaccine requirements. Tyson Foods stated in late October that 96% of its 120,000 US workers were vaccinated for COVID-19.
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