Aug 12, 2021
OSHA’s Stance on Employer Vaccine Liability
BY Sandy Lender
Individuals quoting original guidance issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) April 20, 2021, concerning the general recording criteria regarding COVID-19 vaccination requirements may not be offering complete information to employers.
If you’re concerned about whether you can—or should—require your workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment, you would be well served to review OSHA’s revised guidance issued a month later. The guidance issued May 22, 2021, postponed the recording requirement until May 2022 (at the earliest). From the Department of Labor (DOL) OSHA website:
“Note on recording adverse reactions to vaccines: DOL and OSHA, as well as other federal agencies, are working diligently to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations. OSHA does not want to give any suggestion of discouraging workers from receiving COVID-19 vaccination or to disincentivize employers’ vaccination efforts. As a result, OSHA will not enforce 29 CFR 1904’s recording requirements to require any employers to record worker side effects from COVID-19 vaccination through May 2022. OSHA will reevaluate the agency’s position at that time to determine the best course of action moving forward. Individuals may choose to submit adverse reactions to the federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.”
Both OSHA and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have offered guidance to assist employers in encouraging vaccinations among the workforce without removing personal choice, trampling on religious rights or endangering workers who have contraindications precluding them from receiving the vaccine under Title VII, or putting employers in the hot seat.
Richard L. Hackman, Esq., prepared a thorough blog on the Saxton & Stump® site June 14.
If the reversing of courses by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), DOL, OSHA and other entities of authority makes you dizzy, you’re not alone. From reading current guidance, it appears any employer mandating vaccination as a condition of employment, may, at some point after May 2022, be required to record adverse reactions under 29 CFR 1904.6 if it meets one or more of the general recording criteria in 29 CFR 1904.7.
If you’re in doubt, get professional legal advice to make sure you’re safeguarding your employees in the best way possible.