Hey OSHA! How’s That Mandatory Vaccine Emergency Rule Going?

October 14, 2021 |

We have all seen the increased number of companies mandating the COVID19 vaccine as a condition of employment. And these efforts are working: United Airlines has a workforce that is now 97% vaccinated; Tyson foods vaccine rate has jumped to 91% of its entire workforce. The flip side of that coin is the herculean task ahead of OSHA to promulgate and enforce the emergency rule required to enforce the mandatory vaccine as a safety measure in the workplace.

OSHA is famously underfunded and understaffed, even with a recent $100 million dollar boost from the American Rescue Plan. Over two dozen Republican governors oppose the mandatory vaccine and Arizona has already filed a lawsuit to strike it down. History is not on OSHA’s side here either: Of the 10 emergency standards OSHA has enacted since 1971, four have been overturned and a fifth was partially blocked. Can OSHA prevail? Does it matter?

OSHA has to show a grave danger exists. Certainly 2000 COVID deaths a day rises to that standard but why now? And why only for companies with 100 or more employees? The challenges are legitimate ones even in a pandemic. Courts might find the OSHA rule overly broad or even too narrow to survive.

Say OSHA loses and their emergency rule gets tossed. The businesses that have pushed for the vaccine will not change course. A healthy workplace is a profitable one too. Yes, there will be outliers who take a stand and eschew the vaccine. But with the support of the White House, the data and increasing vaccination numbers in the workforce, mandatory vaccine policies will continue, with or without OSHA.

Questions on how to get your workforce vaccinated? How to review exclusion requests from the vaccine? We can help. We have fixed fee solutions to keep you in compliance. Contact us.


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