While President Biden’s federal vaccine mandate was announced in September, the OSHA regulation actually compelling qualifying federal contractors and business with over 100 employees to force workers to be vaccinated for Covid-19 has not been formally issued. But OSHA is making it clear that it does not want to know about vaccine side effects, because it has suspended employer reporting requirements.
“DOL and OSHA, as well as other federal agencies, are working diligently to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations,” the health agency says on its official website. “OSHA does not wish to have any appearance of discouraging workers from receiving COVID-19 vaccination, and also does not wish 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 at least through May 2022. We will reevaluate the agency’s position at that time to determine the best course of action moving forward.”
However, employees who have claimed injury from vaccines can still file a report with their employer under OSHA’s whistleblower regulations.
“Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 USC 660(c)) prohibits employers from retaliating against workers for exercising a variety of rights guaranteed under the law, such as filing a safety or health complaint with OSHA, raising a health and safety concern with their employers, participating in an OSHA inspection, or reporting a work-related injury or illness,” OSHA notes. “Additionally, OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program enforces the provisions of more than 20 industry-specific federal laws protecting employees from retaliation for raising or reporting concerns about hazards or violations of various airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health insurance reform, motor vehicle safety, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime, securities, tax, antitrust, and anti-money laundering laws. Also see the anti-retaliation provisions in the Emergency Temporary Standard for Healthcare.”