Minnesota OSHA rulemaking
Minnesota OSHA suspends enforcement of COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard
On Jan. 3, 2022, Minnesota OSHA (MNOSHA) adopted the federal OSHA COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) published Nov. 5, 2021, to protect the health of workers by mitigating the spread of the unprecedented virus in the workplace. The ETS protected employees of large employers (100 or more employees) from the risk of contracting COVID-19 by strongly encouraging vaccination. The ETS required covered employers to administer a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, with an exception for employers that instead adopt a policy requiring employees to either get vaccinated or elect to undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work in lieu of vaccination.
In an order issued Jan. 13, 2022, the United States Supreme Court stayed enforcement of federal OSHA's COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing ETS pending the disposition of the petitions for review in the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. In light of the stay, MNOSHA will suspend enforcement of the ETS pending future developments.
With the surge of disease generated by the Omicron variant still not at its peak, MNOSHA strongly encourages all employers to continue to implement the requirements of the ETS to protect employees from a hazard that too often causes death or serious physical harm. MNOSHA will continue to enforce all employers' obligations under the general duty clause and its general standards, including the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Respiratory Protection Standards.
Employees with concerns about their safety and health at work are encouraged to contact MNOSHA.
MNOSHA’s emergency temporary standard regarding occupational exposure to COVID-19 expires in January 2022
On June 21, 2021, federal OSHA published an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) (www.osha.gov/coronavirus/ets) in the Federal Register. Federal OSHA has issued an ETS to protect health care workers and health care support service workers from occupational exposure to COVID-19 in settings where people with COVID-19 are reasonably expected to be present.
On July 19, 2021, Minnesota OSHA adopted the ETS by reference. The ETS was effective in Minnesota as of the date of publication in the State Register, July 19, 2021.
The ETS will remain in effect in Minnesota until it expires on Jan. 19, 2022.
On Dec. 27, 2021, the CDC updated its requirements to shorten the recommendations for isolation and quarantine for the general population. Interim guidance for Managing Healthcare Personnel with SARS-CoV-2 Infection or Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 was updated on Dec. 23, 2021, and applies to healthcare personnel. Until the ETS expires in Minnesota, employers following the current CDC guidance for isolation and quarantine will be considered in compliance with the ETS.
As Federal OSHA works towards a permanent regulatory solution, Minnesota OSHA will enforce and require employers to comply with obligations under the general duty clause and other current standards, such as the personal protective equipment and respiratory protection standards, to help protect healthcare employees from the hazard of COVID-19.
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