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OSHA submits 100+ employee vaccine mandate to OMB for review


OSHA accelerates process to impose Biden’s vaccine mandates on 100 million workers by submitting full text of the rules to the Office of Management and Budget

  • OSHA submitted a proposed rule to the Office of Management and Budget that would require private-sector workers to be vaccinated or tested regularly 
  • The mandate would apply to businesses with 100 or more employees
  • It will be implemented under a federal rule-making mechanism known as an emergency temporary standard
  • It would affect roughly 80 million workers nationwide 
  • The workplace vaccine order has spurred pushback from many Republican governors 


The Department of Labor on Tuesday submitted to the White House the initial text of President Joe Biden‘s plan to require private-sector workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or get tested regularly.      

The department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration submitted the proposed rule for review to the Office of Management and Budget.  

The mandate would apply to businesses with 100 or more employees and will be implemented under a federal rule-making mechanism known as an emergency temporary standard. 

President Joe Biden’s plan to require companies that employ more than 100 people to compel COVID-19 vaccination or weekly testing was submitted to the Office of Management and Budget by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration

The rule will be implemented once OMB’s review is complete and it’s published in the Federal Register.  

Some details could change, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters. 

The move indicates the proposed standard could be released soon. 

It would affect roughly 80 million workers nationwide.

Along with Biden’s order last month that requires all federal workers and contractors to be vaccinated, the orders cover 100 million people, about two-thirds of the U.S. workforce.

Biden’s mandate announcement in September came at a breaking-point moment as the country struggled to control the pandemic and a large swath of the nation’s population refused to accept free vaccinations that have been available for months.

The coronavirus has killed more than 700,000 Americans.

The plan has drawn mixed reactions from companies. 

Many support the government’s goal of speeding the pace of vaccinations, but smaller employers and those with mostly hourly workers have expressed concern the policy could be difficult to implement.  

The workplace vaccine order has spurred pushback from many Republican governors. 

A man wears an anti-vaccine button at a protest Tuesday in New York City. Between Biden's federal workers mandate and the OSHA rule, 100 million American workers are covered by potential COVID-19 vaccine mandates

A man wears an anti-vaccine button at a protest Tuesday in New York City. Between Biden’s federal workers mandate and the OSHA rule, 100 million American workers are covered by potential COVID-19 vaccine mandates

On Monday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, issued an executive order banning businesses and other private entities in his state from requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for employees.

At Tuesday’s press briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Abbott’s order and a similar one from Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, banning the implementation of mandates, ‘fit a familiar pattern that we’ve seen of putting politics ahead of public health.’ 

‘Why would you be taking steps that prevent the saving of lives, that make it more difficult to save lives in – across the country or in any state?’ Psaki asked. 

‘And I would also note that vaccine requirements have been standard in both the Lone Star State, Texas – in case you’re not familiar – and the Sunshine State, Florida, in schools for decades,’ she added. ‘Whether polio, measles, mumps, rubella, the chickenpox, there are vaccine requirements that have been implemented for decades in these states.’  

Biden directing OSHA to use its Emergency Temporary Standard for his vaccine order will affect more than 80 million workers

 What is OSHA?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was created by President Richard Nixon under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. 

OSHA has jurisdiction over most private and public workplaces across the country, but some states have their own OSHA-approved regulatory agencies.

The agency regulates health and safety standards in the workplace. To enforce that it’s able to conduct unannounced inspections ensuring those standards are met.   

Since it was created workplace deaths fell dramatically by nearly 63 percent, according to OSHA. An estimated 14,000 workers – or 38 per day – were killed on the job in 1970. But 2018 the number fell to 5,250, despite a doubling of the total US workforce.

OSHA’s process for enacting new workplace standards includes consulting a number of relevant advisory committees linked to the Labor and Heath and Human Services Departments, as well as consulting business owners and allowing a window for public input, at least 30 days but ‘usually 60 days or more.’ 

Businesses in states with their own OSHA-approved agencies can ask for a ‘variance’ in the rule if they can’t comply by the effective date.

If the state is under federal OSHA jurisdiction then the agency will have to work with the state to determine if the exception can be granted 

What is an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS)?  

An ETS allows OSHA to bypass the consultation process and public input window if it determines ‘workers are in grave danger due to exposure to toxic substances or agents determined to be toxic or physically harmful or to new hazards and that an emergency standard is needed to protect them.’

 Emergency standards can take effect immediately but only stay in effect until replaced by a permanent standard.

That proposed permanent standard must go through the regular bureaucratic channels and be decided upon within six months.

During that time the temporary rule can be challenged in an appropriate federal court. 

OSHA can issue ‘temporary variance’ rules to employers who prove they can’t comply with a regulation in time, but they have to demonstrate they are taking all the necessary and possible steps to protect workers, and show a roadmap toward compliance.

Source: OSHA 

The Labor Department regulatory agency has the authority to issue an 'emergency temporary standard' if it can prove workers are exposed to a grave danger and the rule is deemed necessary to address it

The Labor Department regulatory agency has the authority to issue an ’emergency temporary standard’ if it can prove workers are exposed to a grave danger and the rule is deemed necessary to address it

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