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Just over 100 employee threshold, City of Wadena to prepare plan for COVID OSHA standard

Employees are not required to receive the vaccine, but if the policy remains in place following litigation, weekly testing and face coverings in the workplace will be required for employees who are not vaccinated. The first step in place is employees reporting their vaccination status to the human resources department.

Wadena City Sign
Pioneer Journal file photo

WADENA — When counting all those who receive a wage working for the City of Wadena, the amount just surpasses the 100 employee threshold.

That means the city, like other employers of that size, must create a vaccination plan, following OSHA’s Vaccinate or Test Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). OSHA sets rules for the health and safety of United States workers.

RELATED: Wadena County prepares for employee vaccination, testing policy

Wadena-Deer Creek sets vaccination, testing policy following federal and state requirements

Plans were to be completed by Jan. 10, but Interim City Administrator David Evans said as long as the city is making an effort, they have until Feb. 9 to be compliant. Evans expects to have a plan prepared for approval during the January 18 meeting based on some guidance from the League of Minnesota Cities.

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"I think it's going to be a fluid thing depending on what COVID does, what the Supreme Court does. Could be a moot point, could be effective immediately," Evans said.

Even with a plan in place, the implementation of the plan is dependent on its passage through the U.S. Supreme Court, which is still in question. The preparation of testing kits and masks could be for nothing if the standard is not mandated. Some lower courts are questioning if it’s legal to mandate this order.

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the OSHA regulation January 7. The intent is to force employers of more than 100 people to require either COVID-19 vaccination or mask-and-testing requirements for their employees.

So far, other government agencies in town like Wadena County and Wadena-Deer Creek School District have accepted plans.

As Evans said, as long as OSHA deems the coronavirus a threat, they can implement rules that these employers must follow, similar to their decisions to enforce the use of safety equipment on the job. Whatever OSHA deems necessary, the employer has to provide the means to protect themselves, whether that is masking, testing or time to get vaccinated.

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