The stay on OSHA’s COVID-19 vaccination emergency temporary standard (ETS) was lifted Dec. 17 by the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and the agency is promising enforcement discretion in respect to the standard’s compliance dates.
OSHA can now enforce the ETS, but states it will not issue citations for noncompliance with any requirements of the ETS before Jan. 10, 2022, and won’t issue citations for noncompliance with testing requirements before Feb. 9, 2022.
Those exceptions apply only to employers who are “exercising reasonable, good faith efforts to come into compliance with the standard,” according to a Department of Labor news release.
The Sixth Circuit’s decision lifts a November injunction that blocked the ETS, which applies to businesses with at least 100 workers.
“It is difficult to imagine what more OSHA could do or rely on to justify its finding that workers face a grave danger in the workplace,” the decision states, according to Reuters. “It is not appropriate to second-guess that agency determination considering the substantial evidence, including many peer-reviewed scientific studies, on which it relied.”
The decision coincides with public health officials warning of a new wave of COVID-19 infections in the U.S. from the Omicron variant, which is spreading rapidly across the globe.
Petitions have already been filed with the U.S. Supreme Court by opponents of the vaccine rule seeking to immediately block the ETS.