To the editor:

I think you probably heard that Biden has now come out with a COVID employer mandate. I thought this would be a good opportunity for citizens to review an enabling statute for the Occupational Health and Safety Act to see if the statute authorizes such mandate given the ubiquitous nature of the virus. In other words, does the enabling statute extent to all health concerns whether or not the origin of the health concern lies outside of the workplace and is not endemic to the nature of the work environment?

This is a question I asked my law students whether the enabling language of the act gave OSHA the authority to mandate a vaccination for COVID. If the enabling language of the Act does not extend to viruses the origination of which is unrelated to the workplace from a causation standpoint, then Biden’s mandate is unconstitutional.

Read the following and decide if we traded a pragmatic “dictator” in Trump for an ideologue one in Biden.

“…Act; by assisting and encouraging the States in their efforts to assure safe and healthful working conditions; by providing for research, information, education, and training in the field of occupational safety and health; and for other purposes.

“Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That this Act may be cited as the ‘Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.’

“Congressional Findings and Purpose

29 USC 651 SEC 2

“(A) The Congress finds that personal injuries and illnesses arising out of work situations impose a substantial burden upon, and are a hindrance to, interstate commerce in terms of lost production, wage loss, medical expenses, and disability compensation payments.

“(B) The Congress declares it to be its purpose and policy, through the exercise of its powers to regulate commerce among the several States and with foreign nations and to provide for the general welfare, to assure so far as possible every working man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our Human Resources ….”

John Keifer

Athens, Ohio

Editor’s note: According to the Ohio University website, Mr. Keifer practiced law for 20 years before joining OU’S College of Business in 1990. He led the Center for International Business Education and Development from 1998 to 2006. Mr. Keifer taught sections of the “Law and Society” course from 2011 to 2015.

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