U.S. Labor Department: Some truck drivers exempt from federal vaccine mandates

Despite concerns that federal vaccine mandates would exacerbate transportation supply chain challenges, it now appears the mandate could have little effect on the trucking industry, Megan Leonhardt reported for Fortune.com.

Earlier this month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration released an emergency temporary standard on Nov. 4 that requires employers with 100 or more workers to require vaccines for their employees by Jan. 4, 2022, or have unvaccinated employees tested for COVID-19 weekly. The order also states that workers who are not fully vaccinated will also need to wear face masks in the workplace starting Dec. 5.

But the new regulation does not apply to those who “do not report to a workplace where other individuals such as coworkers or customers are present, employees while they are working from home, or employees who work exclusively outdoors,” – like many CDL truck drivers. And many truckers may be exempt due to their status as an independent contractor or owner operator.

“We’ve heard some pushback from truckers today. The ironic thing is most truckers are not covered by this, because they’re driving a truck, they’re in a cab, they’re by themselves, they wouldn’t be covered by this,” Labor Secretary Marty Walsh told CNBC last week.

In a statement, the American Trucking Associations CEO Chris Spear said:

“The rule published yesterday exempts employees who exclusively work outdoors or remotely and have minimal contact with others indoors, and all indications thus far from the Department of Labor suggest this exemption does apply to the commercial truck driver population.”

Story courtesy of FORTUNE.