The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an emergency temporary standard (ETS) imposing strict requirements on large employers (those with 100 or more employees) to comply with President Joe Biden's COVID-19 vaccine mandate or face stiff fines. Large employers will have until Jan. 4, 2022, to ensure that employees are either fully vaccinated or subject to weekly testing and mask-wearing.

Growers are facing a multitude of threats, including chronic labor shortages and mounting regulatory and marketplace demands. Western Growers believes that harvest automation will be essential to helping growers adapt to these unprecedented challenges.

The Global Harvest Automation Initiative aims to automate 50 percent of the fresh produce harvest within 10 years through a series of projects involving growers, automation startups and key industry players.

Walt Duflock

President Biden recently shared his “Path Out of the Pandemic” memorandum, including the plan to task the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) with drafting a rule to require vaccinations in the workforce known as the Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS). The ETS would require employers with over 100 employees to either ensure vaccination of all employees OR require unvaccinated employees to be tested at least weekly. Employers would also be required to provide paid time off for vaccination or related illness.

Jonathan Sarager


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