The United States's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) implemented a new vaccine requirement that would affect businesses that have more than 100 employees, warning workers that they could face $10,000 fines and six-month prison sentences for lying about their vaccination status.
On Thursday, OSHA announced the new vaccine requirements that would affect roughly 80 million workers across the country. The decision was made to urge businesses in the United States to ensure that all of their employees were either fully vaccinated by Jan. 4 or agreed to weekly testing and wearing of face masks.
New OSHA Vaccine Mandate
OSHA's new vaccine mandate is implemented under the authority granted by the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act. This hands out fines of up to $10,000 and six-month prison sentences, or both, for any individual that is found to have knowingly made any false statement, representation, or certification in any application, records, report, plan, or other document pursuant to the new rule, Fox Business reported.
The new rule by OSHA comes unlike other vaccine requirements and allows workers to reject getting the vaccine but become subject to weekly testing instead. Businesses have been given a deadline of 30 days to enact their policies pursuant to the mandate if they fall within the eligibility category.
Galdean Law Firm's Trinidad Galdean said that many employers, especially with their kinds of clients, have been prepared since January regarding the mandate. OSHA's mandate is a nearly 500-page emergency temporary standards or ETS that laid out what workers would need to do under the rule.
In a statement, Galdean said they were combing through to assist employers and employees comply with the new vaccine mandate. Despite the rule giving workers the opportunity to choose weekly testing over vaccination, it also does not mention anything about having businesses pay for the tests, KWCH reported.
Curbing the Spread of COVID-19
OSHA deputy assistant secretary Jim Frederick said that the new vaccination rules for businesses would affect more than 84 million employees and help them slow the spread of the coronavirus infection while on the job. The official said that the agency estimated the rule could save thousands of lives and prevent more than 250,000 hospitalizations in the next six months after implementation.
The agency said that mandate was called an emergency temporary standard because it deemed that unvaccinated individuals posed a threat to other people for exposure to the virus. He said that OSHA's goal was to make sure that workers would be able to go back home to their families at the end of the day. OSHA's solicitor of labor, Seema Nanda, said that the agency will always use its authority to keep employees safe while working.
The guidelines will also have businesses paying for their employees' time away from work to get vaccinated and give them sick leave if they experience adverse side effects due to the inoculation. "There may be other laws, state, local, federal, other federal laws that do require employers to pay for testing, which may be applicable, '' said Nanda, Fox11 Online reported.