Large and small employers encouraged to share feedback on mandate-or-testing rule with OSHA

Employers will have more time to weigh in on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) mandate-or-testing rule for Covid-19 — and even small employers not affected by the rule would be wise to submit their feedback.

OSHA said it has extended the comment period by 45 days to Jan. 19. The rule, which comes in the form of an emergency temporary standard or ETS, was unveiled Nov. 4, and is part of the Biden administration’s plan to increase national vaccination rates and limit Covid-19 outbreaks.

While the ETS applies only to employers with 100 or more employees companywide, OSHA hasn’t ruled out a future regulation that would affect smaller employers.

For those reasons, OSHA is encouraging small businesses to share their perspectives on the mandate-or-testing rule in the event it considers a similar rule for small businesses down the line. Comments can be shared at
OSHA said the 100-employee threshold was chosen because of a belief that organizations of that size have the administrative capacity to set and enforce the standards. The comment period could help regulators understand the administrative burden the rule could have on smaller employers — among other tangible effects.

Experts have told The Business Journals that even large organizations will face new burdens and obstacles from the rule, such as religious and medical accommodation requests, issues with verifying vaccination status on an ongoing basis and questions over the testing component.

Source: HBJ, Ty West

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