In order to encourage American workers to get vaccinated, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has suspended the legal requirement for employers to report work-related injuries resulting from vaccinations aimed at combating the CCP virus, which causes the disease COVID-19.
OSHA enforces the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
The statute covers “most private sector employers and their workers, in addition to some public sector employers and workers in the 50 states and certain territories and jurisdictions under federal authority. Those jurisdictions include the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Wake Island, Johnston Island, and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands.”
This suspension of the law by OSHA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), doesn’t change the liability faced by employers under workers’ compensation laws or under civil personal injury laws, according to the nonprofit group Liberty Counsel.
Earlier in May, the OSHA website stated that employers could be held liable if they required employees to receive COVID-19-related injections as a condition of employment and said employees then experienced adverse reactions.
According to Liberty Counsel, a “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) section of OSHA’s website stated: “If you require your employees to be vaccinated as a condition of employment (i.e., for work-related reasons), then any adverse reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine is work-related. The adverse reaction is recordable if it is a new case under 29 CFR 1904.6 and meets one or more of the general recording criteria in 29 CFR 1904.7.”
But visitors to the same website’s FAQ section now see a different message, which reads:
“DOL and OSHA, as well as other federal agencies, are working diligently to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations. 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 through May 2022. We will reevaluate the agency’s position at that time to determine the best course of action moving forward.”