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Showing posts with label osha. Show all posts
Showing posts with label osha. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 09, 2021

OSHA Vaccine Stay in 5th Circuit - What Does That Mean - Nothing?

On November 6, 2021, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the OSHA Vaccine Emergency Temporary Standard (which we explained in this blog). However, the Circuit set a short briefing schedule and required the Government to respond to petitioners' motion for a permanent injunction by 5:00 PM on November 8th, which they did, and the petitioners to reply by 5:00 PM on November 9th, which they did


However, the stay seems to be a splashy headline about absolutely nothing. Specifically, the Emergency Temporary Standard's compliance date is not until January 4, 2022 and it impossible that the legality of the Emergency Temporary Standard is not determined before then. More so, as the Government points out, in great detail within their response, this case will be in Multidstrict Litigation "on or about November 16—21 days before the December 7 date that petitioners allege is the earliest date that any employee could be required to receive a vaccine and 51 days before petitioners’ employees would be required to start testing." Here, the 5th Circuit choosing to go it alone, is really strange. 


Regardless, the ultimate determination in this case will likely involve a ruling as to whether the United States Code (29 USC 655(c)), permitted OSHA to issue the vaccine Emergency Temporary Standard. The applicable Code section reads:

OSHA shall provide, without regard to the requirements

of chapter 5, title 5, United States Code [5 USCS §§ 500

et seq.], for an emergency temporary standard to take

immediate effect upon publication in the Federal Register

if he determines (A) that employees are exposed to grave

danger from exposure to substances or agents determined

to be toxic or physically harmful or from new hazards, and

(B) that such emergency standard is necessary to protect

employees from such danger.

Stated otherwise, the question before the Multidistrict Court is going to be whether OSHA has power to issue the Standard. To get to that answer, it is helpful to understand that a grave danger means one that causes "incurable, permanent, or fatal consequences to workers, as opposed to easily curable and fleeting effects on their health," according to precedent. 


Now, to make matters even more interesting, even if OSHA loses on this Emergency Temporary Standard before the Multidistrict Court, it can nonetheless issue a vaccine requirement through traditional rulemaking so long as such a requirement is "'reasonably necessary or appropriate' to address a 'significant risk' of harm in the workplace." As you can see, we are just in the starting gate and this horse race hasn't yet even started. Stay tuned. 





Friday, October 09, 2020

OSHA Guidance on COVID-19 Reporting Requirements for Employers

On September 30, 2020, the Occupational safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published additional frequently asked questions and answers (FAQs) regarding an employer’s reporting requirements for in-patient hospitalizations and fatalities for employees who contracted COVID at work.

The new FAQs require employers to report in-patient hospitalizations and fatalities for work-related, confirmed, cases of COVID-19.

For in-patient hospitalization, the specific rules are:
  • Employers must report in-patient hospitalization within 24 hours of the work-related incident. A work-related incident means that the employee was exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace.
  • The 24-hour reporting period starts when the employer:
    • learns that an employee was in-patient hospitalized within 24 hours of a work-related incident; and
    • determines afterward that the cause of the in-patient hospitalization was a work-related case of COVID-19.
  • The above rules only apply to reporting but not to record keeping. Employers must still record work-related confirmed COVID-19 cases regardless of whether an employee was hospitalized.

For employees who died due to a work-related, confirmed, case of COVID-19, the specific rules are:

  • Employers must report them within 30 days of the work-related incident or the employee’s exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace.
  • The employer must report the fatality to OSHA within 8 hours of knowing or determining:
    • that the employee died within 30 days of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace; AND
    • that the cause of the death was a work-related case of COVID-19.
  • Similar to in-patient hospitalization, the above limitations only apply to reporting and not to record-keeping.

Employers are advised to consult counsel to ensure compliance and to roll out a tailored record keeping and reporting procedures compliant with OSHA’s requirements.