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OSHA Extends Comment Period for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate to Jan. 19

  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration has extended comment period on emergency temporary standard on COVID-19 vaccines in the workplace by 45 days
  • Extension made to allow stakeholders additional time to review the measure and collect information
  • Implementation and enforcement of the standard has been suspended as it faces numerous court challenges

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has extended the comment period for its controversial emergency temporary standard on COVID-19 vaccines in the workplace. The agency will now accept comments through Jan. 19.

OSHA extended the comment period by 45 days to allow stakeholders additional time to review the standard and collect information and data necessary to offer their input. Comments can be submitted at on Docket No. OSHA-2021-0007.

The rule, aimed at protecting workers from the spread of COVID-19 in their workplace, was issued on Nov. 5. It applies to businesses with 100 or more employees, requiring these businesses to develop, implement, and enforce a COVID-19 vaccination policy, or to develop a policy where employees must either get vaccinated or wear a face covering while working with others and undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.

  • The emergency temporary standard originally set deadlines of Dec. 5 for the implementation of most of its provisions and Jan. 4 as the date when workers must either be vaccinated or undergo testing and wear a face covering
  • The rule has come under numerous legal challenges, and OSHA has suspended implementation and enforcement until the issue is resolved in the courts
  • Businesses would be largely responsible for self-enforcing the rules, with OSHA investigations focused on follow-ups to complaints
  • The standard sets the 100-employee threshold due to the belief that businesses of this size have the administrative capacity to manage the provisions, though OSHA is also encouraging input on whether it should be extended to smaller businesses as well

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