After a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals panel expressed “grave statutory and constitutional” concerns about the order, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was forced to suspend all activities related to the implementation and enforcement of the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate in workplaces last week.
According to a Tuesday filing in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio, the Biden administration has urged a federal court to enable it to proceed with a COVID vaccine mandate for enterprises with 100 or more employees.
Lawyers for OSHA and the US Department of Justice claimed that the mandate, which is expected to impact 84 million workers in the US, would save the lives of 6,500 workers and prevent over 250,000 hospitalizations within a six-month period.
“OSHA’s judgment that these measures are necessary to mitigate Covid-19 transmission in the workplace, and the grievous harms the virus inflicts on workers,” the filing reads.
The Fifth Circuit’s previous argument that COVID-19 is not a workplace hazard was also countered by lawyers.
The Biden team noted that workplaces and worksites are often high-traffic areas where people come into prolonged contact with one another, “thus risking workplace transmission of a highly contagious virus.”
Per OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), businesses with 100 or more employees would be obliged to ensure that their personnel are completely vaccinated against the extremely contagious disease, or agree to weekly COVID-19 testing.
A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans earlier ordered a stay on the matter, noting in a unanimous decision that the ETS had improperly asserted “virtually unlimited power to control individual conduct under the guise of a workplace regulation.”
OSHA’s ETS was characterized by the panel as a “one-size-fits-all sledgehammer that makes hardly any attempt to account for differences in workplaces [and workers] that have more than a little bearing on workers’ varying degrees of susceptibility to the supposedly ‘grave danger’ the Mandate purports to address.”
As per Sputniknews, Republican-led states that resist the federal vaccine mandate have accused the Biden administration and OSHA of federal government overreach.
Despite the fact that the workplace-based COVID vaccine obligation, which was set to begin on January 4, has been postponed due to litigation, no court ruling has resulted in the suspension of related mandates for healthcare employees and federal government contractors.