OSHA Emergency Rule on Covid-19 to be Published Soon

OSHA Emergency Rule on Covid-19 to be Published Soon

The Department of Labor said that OSHA's Covid-19 emergency rule for employers with 100 employees or more could be published before the end of the week.

Multiple news outlets reported on Monday, November 1 that the Office of Management and Budget had completed its required review of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration's (OSHA) emergency rule on Covid-19 for employers with 100 employees or more. The ETS is said to be published in the Federal Register within the next few days, when it will then go into effect. 

The news of a brand new emergency rule from OSHA follows calls from the Biden Administration for more strict rules on employers to ensure that employees are vaccinated against Covid-19. The rule will apply to businesses with 100 or more employees and is estimated to cover about two-thirds of the private sector workforce. 

The mandate will require employers to develop and enforce a mandatory Covid vaccination policy, or provide employees the ability to be regularly tested and enforce rules to have said employees wear a mask at work. The emergency rule will also require employers to provide paid time off to workers to get vaccinated and paid sick leave to recover from any side effects. 

OSHA is developing the rule under emergency authority, which allows the agency to bypass the normal lengthy review and comment period before a new standard can be issued. 

OH&S recently recorded a podcast episode with Ackerman Partner, Lillian Moon, on what businesses and companies can do to prepare for this new Covid-19 rule from OSHA. On the episode, Moon discussed the implications of the mandate.

"Employers do have a choice to make if the...mandate applies to them. Either they comply with the mandate, or they decide to assume the risk of non-compliance," Moon said on the podcast. "The risk for non-compliance is that they could face an OSHA inspection and the citations and penalties that come along with that. The penalty for the first offense would be up to $14,000 for each Covid-related violation. The problem with this is that once that first violation hits, it sets the employer on the path for OSHA's right to re-inspection and to check abatement. A failure to abate citation would cost them $13,653 per day that they fail to abate. And that can add up really quickly, into the millions."

You can listen to the episode through the player below.

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