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Clayco reverses its vaccine mandate after OSHA releases ‘disappointing’ guidance

Clayco plans to challenge the guidance through lobbying and outreach to senators
Credit: St. Louis Business Journal

ST. LOUIS — Construction firm Clayco has stepped back from a previously announced firmwide vaccine mandate in response to a recent federal guideline that treats adverse vaccine reactions by workers as "reportable incidents," or incidents that count against a company’s safety record.

Bob Clark, Clayco's executive chairman and founder, said the company was "very disappointed" in the guidance from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

“It seems a great contrast with the Biden administration initiative to get everyone vaccinated," he said. "All businesses and institutions will be very reluctant to mandate if OSHA is saying that adverse reactions to the vaccine count as reportable against your (experience modification rate). It’s honestly ridiculous.”

An experience modification rate, or EMR, is a safety rating that insurers use in calculating workers' compensation — part of the calculation includes "reportable incidents." In short, a higher number of reportable incidents damages the company’s safety ratings, and could hike up the price of insurance.

The OSHA guideline treats adverse reactions to vaccines as reportable incidents, but only for firms that mandated the vaccine. Companies that simply encourage vaccinations do not have to record any adverse reactions as reportable incidents.

Clark noted that Clayco plans to challenge the guidance through lobbying and outreach to senators, and it's not alone in that effort. Construction industry group Associated General Contractors has also reached out to OSHA to outline the impact this guidance has on the industry, according to the Engineering News-Record.

Check out the full story in the St. Louis Business Journal, by clicking here.