OSHA Relaxes COVID-19 Enforcement Rules Regarding Recording Requirements
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has joined the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in encouraging and incentivizing workers to be inoculated with COVID-19 vaccinations. OSHA has also taken a relatively unprecedented step to join this crusade; through May of 2022, OSHA is not going to enforce the recording requirements found at 29 CFR §1904 which would otherwise compel employers to record any side effects suffered by workers from an employer-provided COVID-19 vaccination. Changing a federal regulation is very time-consuming and a lot harder than just agreeing not to enforce it. However, OSHA has promised to continue to monitor and review this policy as the analysis and understanding of scientific data progresses. Of note, in its recent discussions about vaccination issues, OSHA has been careful to explain that these recent changes in enforcement policy are based solely on data about vaccines approved in the United States.
And yes, as part of ongoing efforts to debunk false information circulating on social media and other outlets related to the vaccines, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has made it clear that:
- Getting a COVID-19 vaccination will not make you magnetic.
- Vaccines authorized for use in the United States will not “shed” or release any of their components into or outside of your body.
- It is safe to get a COVID-19 vaccine if you are considering becoming pregnant now or in the future.
- After getting a COVID-19 vaccine, you won’t test positive for COVID-19 on a viral test but you may test positive on an antibody test, although definitive scientific proof on this front is still pending; and finally.
- COVID-19 vaccines will not change your DNA.
As OSHA has done throughout the pandemic, it refers employers to the CDC website for further guidance. The CDC website contains a vast amount of employer-friendly information, including suggested text for letters to help educate employees on COVID-19 workplace issues, free advice and counsel including topics dealing with medical issues and PowerPoint presentation materials about COVID-19 in the workplace. It’s helpful to review these materials and determine if you should incorporate some of them into your workplace protocols. With government agencies working hard to show the way for employers, it’s wise to follow their lead when possible.
Speaking of good advice and counsel, access your Employer COVID-19 toolkit. We will continue to be your ally as Oklahoma workplaces open up and hopefully return to normal as soon as possible.