Breaking News – OSHA Suspends Implementation and Enforcement of Vaccine and Testing Mandates
Announcement by the RISQ Consulting Team
On November 16, 2021, OSHA published an announcement stating that they are unable to implement or enforce the vaccine and testing mandates for private employers that were set to begin in early December and early January.
The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ordered that OSHA pause the implementation and enforcement of the Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) until future court order, due to pending litigation. Several legal issues have been raised in response to OSHA’s ETS that required private employers with more than 100 employees to require employees to receive COVID-19 vaccines or be tested weekly for COVID-19.
The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit was selected through a lottery process to review the ETS arguments, which is the next step.
At this point, employers should continue to monitor the OSHA ETS updates for any status changes. Employers are encouraged to understand the requirements of the ETS, should the case last through the legal challenges and quick implementation be required.
Special Note for Federal Contractors and Healthcare Entities: The suspension of the implementation and enforcement of the vaccine mandate is specific to OSHA’s mandate for private employers with more than 100 employees. The vaccine requirement for Federal Contractors is not affected by the block of the ETS. The vaccine requirement from CMS for staff at health care facilities that participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs is not affected by the block of the ETS.
Links to Additional Reading:
SHRM: 6th Circuit to Review OSHA’s Workplace Vaccine-or-Testing Rule
SHRM: Federal Contractor Employees Must Be ‘Fully Vaccinated’ by Jan. 18, 2022
National Law Review: What Healthcare Employers Need to Know About the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Vaccine Mandate
National Law Review: Fate of OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccine ETS in the Hands of Sixth Circuit Court
RISQ Consulting will continue to monitor the situation and legal challenges, sending updates as new relevant information becomes available.
Click HERE to view the News Brief.
If you have any questions about how the OSHA ETS may apply to your company, or any other questions about COVID-19, please contact your RISQ Consulting Account Executive or Account Manager.
- Published in Blog
Hearing Protection: How Loud Is Too Loud?
This article is from RISQ Consulting’s Zywave client portal, a resource available to all RISQ Consulting clients. Please contact your Benefits Consultant or Account Executive for more information or for help setting up your own login.
According to the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, around 46% of all manufacturing workers have been exposed to hazardous noise at some point during their employment. Things like rotors, power tools, stators, gears, fans, impact processes and electrical machinery can all generate significant levels of noise, which, in turn, can negatively impact your hearing.
Prolonged exposure to excessive noise is particularly dangerous and can lead to tinnitus, which is characterized by ringing, buzzing and roaring in the ears. In some cases, harmful levels of noise can lead to permanent hearing loss.
To keep employees safe, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has specific regulations related to workplace noise exposure. This flyer provides a general overview of these regulations and ways you can stay safe on the job.
OSHA’s Noise Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL)
Noise is measured in units of sound pressure levels called decibels (dB). Often, decibels are expressed as dBA, which refers to A-weighted sound levels. Essentially, this measurement is more specific than dB alone, as it accounts for relative loudness perceived by the human ear.
There are two specific noise measurements to keep in mind when it comes to hearing protection and workplace safety—the action level and permissible exposure limit (PEL):
- Action level—For noise, OSHA’s action level is 85 dBA averaged over an eight-hour workday. When workplace noise reaches this level, employers are required to implement a hearing conservation program and offer hearing protection.
- PEL—Per OSHA, the PEL for noise is 90 dBA over an eight-hour workday. At this level, employees are required to wear hearing protection. In addition, for every 5 dBA above the action level, the duration of employee exposure to noise must be cut in half (e.g., 85 dBA/eight hours, 90 dBA/four hours, 95 dBA/two hours). Furthermore, exposure to noise should not exceed 140 dBA.
Protecting Yourself From Harmful Noise
Tinnitus and hearing loss can be debilitating and irreversible. However, being aware of the symptoms of hearing loss can go a long way toward ensuring your health and safety at work. Common symptoms of hearing loss include the following:
- Straining to understand conversations
- Needing to have things repeated frequently
- Increasing television or radio volumes to excessive levels
- Ringing in your ears or feeling dizzy
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, speak with your doctor and supervisor. To further protect yourself in the workplace, it’s important to be aware of adverse noise levels that can lead hearing loss, and follow all relevant workplace safety policies and procedures.
For questions regarding workplace noise and safety, speak with your supervisor.
- Published in Blog