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Chairman Scott: SCOTUS Decision Undermines OSHA’s Authority to Protect Workers Against COVID-19

01.13.22

WASHINGTON – Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) released the following statement after the Supreme Court ruled to reject the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) COVID-19 vaccine or test requirement for employers with 100 or more employees.

“While I am relieved that the Supreme Court upheld the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) rule protecting health care workers and patients, today’s decision is a significant setback in our efforts to protect workers from COVID-19 in the workplace.

“The Occupational Safety and Health Act gives OSHA the clear authority to issue an emergency workplace standard when it is necessary to protect workers against ‘grave danger’ from toxic, harmful, or new hazards. The COVID-19 pandemic is undoubtedly a grave danger to workers and OSHA’s vaccine-or-test policy is the most effective solution for protecting them. Furthermore, Congress expressly directed OSHA to protect workers from COVID-19 as a part of the funding provided in the American Rescue Plan Act last year.

“The Supreme Court’s decision to block OSHA’s emergency workplace standard undermines a 50-year-old workplace safety law and threatens OSHA’s authority to protect workers during a public health emergency. This is exactly the type of so-called judicial activism that Republicans once decried. Most importantly, the Court’s failure to uphold the vaccine-or-test policy eliminates a critical tool for saving lives and ending the pandemic.

“Workers’ health is public health. We must do everything we can to ensure that all Americans can go to work without endangering themselves or their families.”

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