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02 Feb

February 2022 Mid-Month #1 Federal HR Updates

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OSHA Withdraws ETS

Update Applicable to:
All employers with 100 or more employees

What happened?
On January 25, 2022, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) withdrew its COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS).

What are the details?
Effective January 26, 2022, the ETS will no longer be enforced for employers with 100 or more employees. OSHA will be prioritizing its resources to focus on finalizing a permanent COVID-19 Healthcare Standard.

Per our source, Seyfarth Shaw LLP:
“OSHA explicitly advised that it ‘is not withdrawing the ETS as a proposed rule,’ meaning it could continue to pursue a broad, permanent COVID-19 or infectious disease standard. A permanent COVID-19 or infectious disease standard would entail a lengthy and contentious notice and comment period, and likely more litigation. But, for now, it appears ‘he agency is prioritizing its resources to focus on finalizing a permanent COVID-19 Healthcare Standard,’ so the likelihood of any COVID-19 standard based on the withdrawn ETS is unclear.

We expect OSHA to continue inspecting workplaces for COVID-19 hazards and citing employers for violations of existing OSHA standards that could implicate COVID (e.g., personal protective equipment, respiratory protection, sanitation, bloodborne pathogens, employee access to medical and exposure records, and recordkeeping/reporting) or use the OSH Act’s General Duty Clause, all while continuing to execute on its COVID-19 National Emphasis Program. OSHA may also pursue a new, more targeted emergency standard, which the Supreme Court seemed to sanction in its January 13, 2022 opinion.”

For more information, please see the links below:

OSHA ETS Withdrawal Notice

Advanced Copy of Notice

OSHA Statement

OSH Act’s General Duty Clause

Article 1Article 2Article 3

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links above and continue to try their best to protect their employees and abide by any mandate or guidance issued by their local government or state.

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