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The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has extended the comment period for the COVID-19 vaccination and testing emergency temporary standard (ETS) to Jan. 19, 2022.
OSHA extended the comment period by 45 days to allow stakeholders additional time to review the ETS and collect information and data necessary for comment, administration officials said in a press release.
On Nov. 5, OSHA issued an ETS to protect workers from the spread of coronavirus on the job. The ETS covers employers with 100 or more employees. Impacted employers must develop, implement and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, unless they adopt a policy requiring employees to either get vaccinated or undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering in the workplace.
The ETS and an executive order signed by President Biden in September have had an impact on the rail industry. Companies that are federal contractors — including BNSF Railway Co., Union Pacific Railroad and Norfolk Southern Railway — have already mandated COVID-19 vaccinations for their employees. Amtrak and Metra also have implemented vaccination policies.
Some rail unions are challenging those railroads' vaccination requirements in federal court.