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OSHA withdraws rule for businesses after losing Supreme Court case

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OSHA withdraws rule for businesses after losing Supreme Court case

| Business News Today | abc News

The Biden administration officially withdraws its vaccine and testing mandate for companies, after the Supreme Court blocked the requirements earlier this month.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Tuesday it was withdrawing the rules for businesses effective Wednesday, Jan. 26. The Supreme Court’s conservative majority, in a 6-3 decision, said OSHA had exceeded its authority.

“While Congress unquestionably gave OSHA the power to regulate occupational hazards, it did not give this agency the power to regulate public health more broadly,” the court wrote in an unsigned opinion.

Under the old rules, companies with 100 or more employees had to ensure their employees were fully vaccinated or submit a negative Covid test every week to enter the workplace. It would have covered some 80 million employees in the private sector.

The Supreme Court ruling dealt a blow to President Joe Biden’s strategy to control the spread of the virus. Biden called on companies to voluntarily implement the requirements.

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh promised OSHA would use its existing powers to protect workers from Covid. OSHA still has general authority to investigate and fine employers if they fail to maintain a safe workplace.

The United States reported a seven-day average of more than 731,000 new daily infections, an increase of 4% from last week, according to a CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. Although new infections are plateauing, they have stagnated at levels significantly higher than previous waves.

OSHA announced on Tuesday that it would redirect its resources to focus on creating a permanent Covid safety standard for healthcare workers. The agency released temporary rules for the industry last summer, but withdrew them in December after missing a deadline to create a permanent safety standard.

OSHA released health care rules under its emergency authority, allowing the agency to shorten the normal process and issue a new safety standard if the Secretary of Labor identifies a serious hazard to people. workers. However, OSHA must develop a permanent rule within six months to replace the temporary rules, which it has not done.

The Covid healthcare standard required most facilities to provide personal protective equipment, install physical barriers in certain areas, clean and disinfect the workplace and maintain adequate ventilation among a number of other measures.

The AFL-CIO and National Nurses United, among other labor groups, have asked a federal appeals court to force OSHA to reinstate safety rules for healthcare workers. OSHA, in a court filing, said it was unable to complete a permanent rule for healthcare workers because its resources were tied up preparing the trade mandate.

Hospitals across the United States are grappling with a surge of patients infected with the highly contagious omicron variant. There are about 155,000 patients in US hospitals with Covid, according to a seven-day average of Department of Health and Human Services data, higher than peak levels seen last winter but down 2, 4% compared to a week ago.

Many hospitals are facing staffing shortages as medical professionals are forced to call in sick after being infected with the omicron variant.

“Many places across the country are getting to the point where even their emergency personnel are getting sick,” Dr. Gillian Schmitz, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, told CNBC earlier this month. “Almost the entire country is currently feeling this wave of cases which is impacting staffing.”

OSHA withdraws rule for businesses after losing Supreme Court case

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