DG Digest: Court upholds suspension of OSHA Covid-19 vaccine mandate for many U.S. workplaces

Here we are in mid-November. Winter is rolling in quickly, so make sure your workplace has its cold weather plan ready. Snow removal needs are already here for some northern and high elevation locations, with much of the rest of the country sure to follow soon. Don’t get caught unprepared! The week saw relatively limited regulatory news, although there were late breaking developments in regard to the OSHA COVID-19 vaccine mandate situation. Here’s the latest:


The agency remains busy with its Special Permit (SP) program, issuing its latest raft of decision related to the requests.  See the actions via these links:





Overnight on Friday, November 12th, the full US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the earlier decision of its three-judge subpanel to suspend implementation of the OSHA COVID-19 vaccine mandate for many American workplaces. (See our detailed coverage from last week) The Court cited significant constitutional concerns in its decision to uphold the panel’s previous suspension of the rule. See the decision here.

Of course, this will almost certainly not be the final action on the status of the rule.  Everyone can expect this issue to wind its way to the US Supreme Court for final resolution. This column will continue to keep its readers abreast of developments.

In rather less controversial news, OSHA also published an ICR dealing with the use of explosive blasting in industrial operations. See the ICR here.

A second ICR deals with OSHA’s variance programs.  OSHA has the ability to issue variances (what we’d call a Special Permit in the DOT world) from its standard regulations for various purposes, assuming n applicant can justify it to the agency’s satisfaction. Here’s the action.


The agency amended the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) to include rear impact guards on the list of items that must be examined as part of the required annual inspection for each commercial motor vehicle (CMV). In addition, FMCSA amends the labeling requirements for rear impact guards, and excludes road construction controlled (RCC) horizontal discharge trailers from the rear impact guard requirements, consistent with changes made by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to the corresponding Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS).  The new rule is effective on December 9thSee it here.

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