October 12, 2021

Questions linger as employers and workers wait for Biden's new vaccine rules

A bus driver wearing a mask waits at a light.  - Justin Hicks/IPB News

A bus driver wearing a mask waits at a light.

Justin Hicks/IPB News

Employers are waiting for details on President Joe Biden’s promised rule making employers with more than 100 workers require vaccinations or testing. Businesses and workers have questions on how Indiana’s government will respond when the rule comes.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration programs can be run either by the federal government, or as a state agency. Indiana’s OSHA office is operated by the state’s Department of Labor. It will be charged with enforcing the new rule, although labor unions have long said the agency is routinely underfunded.

READ MORE: Indiana business groups disagree with federal vaccine mandate

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Neil Gath is an attorney who represents various labor groups in the state. He said it’s unclear if IOSHA has the staff needed to enforce a new mandate. 

“They’re the appropriate agency given the task, I believe,” he said. “The question is, will they have the resources to fully administer it?”

Gath added it’s unclear if states like Indiana will immediately adopt the standard if it's challenged in court. Attorney General Todd Rokita has promised he will sue when it’s implemented, along with several other Republican governors.

Contact reporter Justin at jhicks@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @Hicks_JustinM.

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