Effective today, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has withdrawn its emergency temporary standard (ETS) that required employers with 100 or more employees to have their workforce vaccinated against COVID-19 or routinely tested.
The news comes on the heels of several lower courts and the Supreme Court blocking the ETS. After all of these setbacks, OSHA made the decision to withdraw the ETS completely.
The ETS, which went into effect in early January, had aimed to protect the health and safety of employees in the workplace amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. OSHA put the ETS in place in anticipation of a permanent standard coming later.
However, OSHA encountered multiple setbacks, with several courts agreeing that OSHA had overstepped its authority. SCOTUS, for example, said OSHA is only meant to set workplace safety standards, and lacked authority to set broad public health measures.
Similarly, a Texas federal judge also blocked President Biden’s vaccine mandate for government workers.
Now, OSHA is regrouping. Though the administration is withdrawing the ETS, it isn’t giving up.
“Although OSHA is withdrawing the ETS as an enforceable emergency temporary standard, OSHA is not withdrawing the ETS to the extent that it serves as a proposed rule,” the administration said.
According to OSHA’s website, a typical timeline for a permanent standard after an ETS is put into place is six months. In this case, we could have a final rule from OSHA around May.
While OSHA works to get a permanent standard in place, it still encourages employers to set their own COVID-19 vaccination mandates in an effort to keep workers safe.