COVID-19 times are indeed strange as behavior from the biggest government agency on down deviates from the norm to seemingly synchronize and harmonize a path toward seamless mass vaccination. This completely makes sense given this nasty pathogen that’s taken the lives of over 3.7 million people worldwide with over 610,000 deaths in America. But core fundamental principles of patient safety and quality, not to mention ethics, cannot be shortchanged in the process. An important rule that’s on the books of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) apparently was a problem for employers that were going to mandate vaccinations. You see if they actually did that and followed the federal rules, employers would have to record the events, which amounts to a form of adverse event reporting, and thus actually follow up on any such events with their employees. Employee safety is certainly important but not at the expense of getting in the way of mass vaccination, apparently.
Not a funny matter actually, OSHA apparently changed its rules in a bid to avoid “the appearance of discouraging workers” from taking advantage of on the job vaccination opportunity now ubiquitous given POTUS’ push to have 70% of the American public with at least one jab by the nation’s birthday, as reported by the agency itself here.
A Questionable Move
In what can only be considered a dubious move by OSHA, the change made an exception for the federal employer vaccine, reporting requirements with new language stating:
“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.”
Good News for Employers & Need to Report Safety Events
Before employers were disgruntled because any vaccine mandates would necessitate recording, which is, in reality, a form of reporting of incidents which could lead to an impact on safety record, for example, and possibly greater workers’ compensation overhead over time. Well, the other unspoken reality was that employers could possibly become another pathway to shine the light on the identification of adverse events. Well, two birds are down with one stone in what is fabulous news for employers and POTUS’ 70% goal by July 4. Society could benefit too.
While this change in the rules possibly could incentivize more workers in select industries to vaccinate, such as in the construction space, what happens to the very spirit and intent of what’s behind these rules in the first place? Isn’t that the point of having adverse event reporting, should the employer mandate vaccination? Given the recent disclosures reported in TrialSite concerning the troubling reality that there could be more adverse events than perhaps the public is generally aware of, is there anything wrong with this OSHA move?