The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (OSHSB) has elected to postpone its adoption of the Federal COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a stay on enforcement of the federal standard, and it seems that the OSHSB is waiting to see how that litigation develops before proceeding with its own adoption.

In addition to the 5th Circuit, similar lawsuits have been filed in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 11th Circuit Court of Appeals seeking to challenge the aforementioned Federal COVID-19 ETS. The multiple lawsuits involving separate courts will be consolidated and heard by one court. Each federal circuit court in which a lawsuit has been filed will get one entry in a lottery, and the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation will randomly draw one entry from that lottery, allowing all lawsuits to be consolidated and heard before that court.

What does this mean? It means we will not be seeing the controversial federal vaccine mandate in California for the time being. The current California standard remains in place, with its re-adoption on the OSHSB December 16th meeting agenda. PRISM members should continue to comply with the California ETS in its current form. Additionally, members are encouraged to continue discussions and preparations for a potential adoption of the federal standard (particularly vaccine/testing requirements) at some point.

PRISM will continue to monitor regulation changes pertaining to COVID-19, including Cal/OSHA’s ongoing effort to re-adopt its current Emergency Temporary Standard and efforts to develop a permanent standard. For questions about this blog or PRISM’s monitoring of COVID-19 regulations, please contact PRISM Risk Control.