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Small Agency, Big Job: Biden Tasks OSHA With Vaccine Mandate

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FILE - In this Sept. 14, 2021 file photo, a syringe is prepared with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic at the Reading Area Community College in Reading, Pa. President Joe Biden has directed OSHA to write a rule requiring employers with at least 100 workers to force employees to get vaccinated or produce weekly test results showing they are virus free.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

(AP) — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration doesn’t make many headlines. Charged with keeping America’s workplaces safe, it sets and enforces standards for goggles, hardhats and ladders. Now the tiny Labor Department agency has been tossed into the raging national debate over federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates. President Joe Biden directed OSHA to write a rule forcing employers with at least 100 workers to require staff get vaccinated or produce weekly test results showing they are virus free. The assignment will surely test the underfunded, understaffed agency that has struggled to defend its authority in court.

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