OSHA Vaccine Mandate Penalties to Start Jan. 10

OSHA Vaccine Mandate Penalties to Start Jan. 10 Marking the calendar for the January 4th US national deadline for large companies to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine (Dreamstime)

Saturday, 18 December 2021 01:32 PM

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration said Saturday it would not issue citations tied to its coronavirus vaccination mandate before Jan. 10, so companies have time to adjust to and implement the requirements.

The federal agency separately said there would be no citations of companies regarding its testing requirements before Feb. 9.

The announcement came after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth District in Cincinnati decided Friday the mandate for large employers could go forward, reversing a previous court decision made after 27 Republican-led states, conservative groups, business associations and some individual companies challenged the mandate.

OSHA said in a statement it would not issue citations before the listed dates "so long as an employer is exercising reasonable, good faith efforts to come into compliance with the standard."

The mandate was previously slated to take effect Jan. 4.

The Biden administration's vaccine requirement applies to companies with 100 or more employees and covers about 84 million U.S. workers. Employees who are not fully vaccinated have to wear face masks and be subject to weekly COVID-19 tests. There are exceptions, including for those who work outdoors or only at home.

Administration officials estimate that the mandate will save 6,500 lives and prevent 250,000 hospitalizations over six months.