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OSHA Revises Employer Guidelines on COVID Vaccine Reactions to Avoid “Appearance” of Discouraging Vaccination

U.S. Department of Labor

As an increasing number of employers including restaurants,1 colleges2 and health care facilities3 are requiring the COVID-19 vaccine, many employers are looking to the federal Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration (OSHA), among other government agencies, for guidance on how to proceed with COVID-19 vaccination protocols. Last week, guidelines from OSHA indicated that employers who are requiring the vaccine for their employees may be held liable for adverse reactions that may occur.4

 This information, which was met with some criticism,5 6 has since been removed from the OSHA COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions web page. New guidelines state that, in order to avoid the appearance of discouraging the vaccine, “OSHA will not enforce recording requirements to any employers to record worker side effects from the COVID-19 vaccination through May 2022.”4

Prior to the recent removal, the COVID-19 Frequently Asked Question section of the OSHA website listed the following question:

If I require my employees to take the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of their employment, are adverse reactions to the vaccine recordable?

Initially, the OSHA response was:

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 8

OSHA Receives Pushback for Requiring Vaccine Related Reports

That question and answer have since been removed from the OSHA page but are summarized in multiple news articles that discussed the guidelines as first published by OSHA.5 6 7 8 One of these articles written by Construction Dive on May 18 quoted Bob Clark, a general contractor in Chicago, as saying that the initial OSHA guidance was a “tremendous mistake” that may discourage companies from requiring their employees to get the vaccine. Following publication of this initial guidance from OSHA, a coalition of construction employer groups including the Associated General Contractors of America wrote to the Department of Labor (DOL) echoing Clark’s concerns in that the guidance may hinder vaccination efforts and that the statement on recording responsibilities may cause confusion and uncertainty for employers.6

The full OSHA revised guidance statement now 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.4

Vaccine Reactions Must be Logged in OSHA Records if Mandated by Employer

According to The National Law Review, the initial OSHA guidelines would have considered adverse reactions to any employer-required vaccine as “work related” and stipulated that OSHA must be notified by employers within 24 hours of an employee’s vaccine-related hospitalization or death. The National Law Review also stated that if the COVID-19 vaccine reaction met less serious recording criteria, such as missing or restricted work, the incidents must still be recorded on the employer’s OSHA log.7

Workplaces Threaten Employees Who Refuse Vaccination with Dismissal

Employees who refuse the vaccine at certain workplaces may be suspended without pay and eventually terminated, as is the case with Houston Methodist Hospital which employs 26,000 people. Employees have until June 7 to receive the vaccine. According to MedPage Today, employees may still file for a religious or medical exemption through human resources. Houston Methodist is the first healthcare system in the United States to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine. In an e-mail shared with MedPage Today, Houston Methodist Hospital CEO Marc Boom wrote to hospital employees:

Science has proven that the COVID-19 vaccines are very safe and very effective… by choosing to be vaccinated, you are leaders—showing our colleagues in healthcare what must be done.3

This move has not come without pushback from the community and employees. Jennifer Bridges, RN of Houston Methodist Hospital started a change.org petition with over 8,000 signatures.3 The petition states: “We give our patients the right to reuse and we are just asking for the same respect.”9

Health Care Workers Describe Threats, Terminations at May 6 Legislative Hearing in Texas

In a special May 24, 2021 report published by the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) about the May 6 hearing in the Texas legislature on a bill to prohibit COVID-19 vaccine mandates by businesses and other state entities (SB1669), many healthcare workers testified in support of the bill.10 A number of the witnesses were currently employed or had been employed by Houston Methodist.

One nurse manager, Sarah Pica, RN, who is a mother of five, testified about how she was fired from Houston Methodist for refusing to take the experimental COVID-19 vaccine and described how other employees are also being threatened with job loss. She stated that in January 2021, Houston Methodist staff were paid $500 to get the COVID-19 vaccine but in April the experimental vaccine became mandatory. She explained:

The vaccine was no longer optional, but required to keep your job. Beginning with hospital leadership, anyone who did not receive the COVID vaccine, which is for emergency use only, was suspended for two weeks and terminated if they remained unvaccinated. I tested positive for COVID in December. I requested to have my antibodies drawn to demonstrate natural immunity provided after recovery from illness. My request was denied. I submitted medical and religious exemptions to receiving the vaccine. All of my exemptions were denied by the hospital panel and employment was terminated on April 30.10

 She asked:

What right does one have to determine if another’s religious reason is valid or not?…Employers are bullying and oppressing us while the world watches the injustice, but does nothing. House Methodist is simply terminating anyone who declines or is unable to receive the vaccine.  Now they’re informing staff they have until June 7 to receive the vaccine or suffer the same fate…10

FDA Code States that Recipients Must Have Option to Accept or Refuse EUA Products

All three COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States remain under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) classification from the FDA. U.S. Code surrounding EUA products states that individuals to whom the product is administered should be informed of the following:11

  • That FDA has authorized emergency use of the product;
  • Of the significant known and potential benefits and risks associated with the emergency use of the product, and of the extent to which such benefits and risks are unknown;
  • That they have the option to accept or refuse the EUA product and of any consequences of refusing administration of the product;4 6 and
  • Of any available alternatives to the product and of the risks and benefits of available alternatives.

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Click here to view References:

1 Cutter C. Want that job offer? A COVID-19 vaccine is now required. The Wall Street Journal Apr. 26, 2021.
2 Thorbecke C. Employers announce covid-19 vaccine requirements as workplaces reopen. ABC News Mar. 17, 2021.
3 Basen R. Houston Methodist: Get vaccinated, or get fired. MedPage Today Apr. 28, 2021.
4 Occupational Safety and Health Administration. United States Department of Labor. COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions.
5 Yoders J. OSHA imposes new guidance for employer-required COVID-19vaccines. Engineering News Record May 3, 2021.
6 Slowey K. Contractors weigh new OSHA guidance on adverse vaccine reactions. Construction Dive May 18, 2021.
7 Kagan A. & Strowhiro M. Osha releases guidance for employers considering vaccine requirements. The National Law Review, Volume XI Number 140 Apr. 21, 2021.
8 Delaney P. Employers may be  liable for any ‘adverse reaction’ from mandated coronavirus shots: OSHA. Lifesite News May 20, 2021.
9 Bridges J. Covid vaccine should not be mandatory or termination. Change.org.
10 Fisher BL. Texas Bill Still Pending After Historic Hearing to Prohibit Vaccine Mandates and COVID Vaccine Passports. NVIC Newsletter May 24, 2021.
11 U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Guidance Documents: Emergency Use Authorization of Medical Products and Related Authorities. January 2017.

14 Responses

  1. Going postal is going to have a whole new meaning. Corporations can’t just cut half of the workers off for ideological differences and expect there to be no consequences. It’s personal now, because they made it personal. Ruining peoples entire lives because they don’t want to take your prescription. A life without liberty is not worth living. Who exactly is making these decisions at these companies, we want their full names. Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire.

  2. America’s Frontline Doctors have drafted letters for employees regarding the EUA codes on mask weating requiring consent with statistics and references for all points. It also applies to getting the experimental EUA injection. The letter can be downloaded and edited to be addressed to ones employer. Here’s the website link: https://www.americasfrontlinedoctors.org/legal They also have letters to send to schools regarding again statistics on mask wearing as well as the EUA code requiring informed consent. Hope you will share with your readers. I have printed out an excerpt on a sheet which I will hand out to any business who trys to insist I wear a mask. My sheet states the USC code reference about informed consent for all EUA recommendations and my statement that I decline using a mask. I will use the same information regarding my decision to not get the shot to anyone who tries to tell me it is “mandatory”.

  3. The exact reference for the USC code on EUA products is

    21 U.S.C.§ S360bbb-3 (The FD&C Act) Section e (1) A ii

    There is blatent violation of all the stipulations for using EUA products in this code. Are the government, businesses, hospitals all above following the law?

  4. Employers are rightly concerned about employee adverse reactions to experimental substances ‘required’ by the employer. Any coercion could and should be answered by a lawsuit against the employer. As a Liberty-loving American, I look forward to strong and God-fearing attorneys taking up a case like this.

  5. These actions taken by employers are a violation of the 1st , 4th & 5th amendment.
    If an employer is requiring this to work at their company how does one leave the vaccine at work ? This is something that you have for life not just at work like a uniform or safety shoes those can be removed.

    1. As the subject on autism, spacing them out doesn’t mean it will work for all on an baby. Like a soap that help my kid on acne medicine!!!! This is for life!!!!

  6. Organize, Organize, Organize. Have a big party on their lawn on “Quitting” Day. Everyone have a big walk out and say goodbye.

  7. Well, it would be nice if just ONE big organization like OSHAA would speak out against the vaxx’s which we ALL know are nothing more than experiments at this point. Letting babies get these things is unconscionable and the parents should be jailed for their ultimate stupidity. They have no idea what will happen to the future of that child. And, of course, if the kid has problems far enough down the road, no one will even think about connecting it to these God-awful injections of poison.

    This is the typical thing for American’s today. Let the politicians made your medical decisions? Ask yourself if THAT’S a good idea. They can’t even make decent decision about anything else but we’re going to let them MANDATE our futures by making our medical decisions??? Man, talk about a dumbed down America. We’ve arrived, people.

  8. Why can you have vaccinated and unvaccinated employees because some have been exempted on religious and medical grounds, that is discrimination it works the same way if employees have a free choice about having the vaccine or not to have it

  9. Safe and effective? From what? Over 10K people have died after being fully vaccinated. What are these vaccines protecting people from? How many more people need to die before these Emergency Use Only ‘vaccines’ are pulled from the market? The virus has over a 99% survival rate.

  10. All employees that work at Houston medical should walk off the job it is our obligation as American citizens to fight for our freedoms whether you want to get vaccinated or not. These people will stop at nothing to control our lives and it needs to be squashed by every employee walking off the job!
    If they have no employees they are out of business, this type of bullying should not be tolerated by anyone!

  11. Threatening employees isn’t acceptable. What a medical tyranny!!! Why would they have to receive experimental covid vaccine in order to keep their jobs? That is absurd. It’s not FDA approved. Not enough science or data. What kind of world are we living in?? ? But I do know medical tyranny is getting worse.

  12. Some think it unreasonable to compare the Nuremberg Code (which is a set of ethical research principles developed in the wake of Nazi atrocities-specifically the inhumane and often fatal experimentation on human subjects without consent during WWII and COVID).

    If you are forced to be vaccinated and that vaccine results in a permanent physical condition or death, I feel the results are just as damaging, particularly since you do not want to have the vaccination.

    Please refer to the Nuremberg Code 1947 which states in part:

    “The great weight of the evidence before us to effect that certain types of medical experiments on human beings, when kept within reasonably well-defined bounds, conform to the ethics of the medical profession generally. The protagonists of the practice of human experimentation justify their views on the basis that such experiments yield results for the good of society that are unprocurable by other methods or means of study. All agree, however, that certain basic principles must be observed in order to satisfy moral, ethical and legal concepts:

    1. The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. This means that the person involved should have the legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, overreaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved as to enable him to make an understanding and enlightening decision by the experimental subject there should be made known to him the nature, duration and purpose of the experiment; the method and means by which it is to be conducted; all inconveniences and hazards reasonably expected; and the effects upon his health or person which may possibly come from his participation in the experiment. The duty and responsibility for ascertaining the quality of the consent rests upon each individual who initiates, directs or engages in the experiment. It is a personal duty and responsibility which may not be delegated to another with impunity.”

    The Nuremberg Code has 10 conditions. I suggest you all research this code carefully. To my knowledge, this is still in effect and has been sited as legally enforceable ethical standards.

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