Employer vaccine mandate headed to Supreme Court | New truck parking coming to former weigh stations

Trucking news and briefs for Monday, Dec. 20, 2021:

Vax mandate heads to Supreme Court after appeals court reverses stay

The American Trucking Associations was among 27 business groups to file an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 17 after the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the stay on the Biden Administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employers with 100 or more employees.

The mandate has been on hold since Nov. 6, when the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals granted an emergency motion to temporarily stay the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s rule’s enforcement.  

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled Dec. 17 that, contrary to the Fifth Circuit’s opinion, OSHA does have the authority to require such a mandate. The court cited provisions in the Occupational Safety and Health Act that established OSHA that reinforce OSHA’s authority to regulate infectious diseases and viruses.

“Based on the OSH Act’s language, structure, and Congressional approval, OSHA has long asserted its authority to protect workers against infectious diseases,” the court ruled. “…Given OSHA’s clear and exercised authority to regulate viruses, OSHA necessarily has the authority to regulate infectious diseases that are not unique to the workplace. Indeed, no virus – HIV, HBV, COVID-19 – is unique to the workplace and affects only workers. And courts have upheld OSHA’s authority to regulate hazards that co-exist in the workplace and in society but are at heightened risk in the workplace.”

The three-judge Sixth Circuit panel voted 2-1 to reverse the stay. The one dissenting judge, Judge Joan L. Larsen, agreed with the Fifth Circuit’s opinion that OSHA did not have authority to issue the mandate.

In response to the stay being lifted, OSHA said it would give some leniency in enforcement of the mandate by not issuing citations for noncompliance with any portions of the mandate before Jan. 10, and not issuing citations for noncompliance with the standard’s testing requirements before Feb. 9, “so long as an employer is exercising reasonable, good faith efforts to come into compliance with the standard.  OSHA will work closely with the regulated community to provide compliance assistance.”

The American Trucking Associations on Monday said it has taken its legal challenge to the mandate to the Supreme Court.

“It’s evident that OSHA overstepped its statutory authority with this Emergency Temporary Standard, so make no mistake: ATA will not stop fighting this misguided policy until our members and industry are fully relieved from its harmful impact on our ability to keep America’s supply chain moving,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “That includes the movement of food, fuel, medical supplies, test kits, and the vaccine itself.”

[Related: An edge on growth: One way small fleets stand to benefit from Biden's vax mandate]

Ohio plans to repurpose two former weigh stations for truck parking

The Ohio Department of Transportation will be undertaking a project to repurpose two unused weigh stations along I-71 and I-76 in Ashland and Medina counties in 2024.

Work will consist of reconstructing the currently unused weigh stations on I-71 south between SR 301 and U.S. 250 in Ashland County and I-76 east between SR 3 and SR 57 in Medina County for truck parking.

All work will be performed within existing right-of-way, and traffic will be maintained during construction. Construction is estimated to begin in April 2024.

[Related: Trucking groups recommend more split-sleeper options, parking, roads to improve supply chains]

New California warehouse for logistics provider | RK Logistics Group, a Silicon Valley provider of warehousing, eCommerce fulfillment and supply chain management services, has expanded into Hayward, California, marking the latest addition to RK’s network of distribution facilities serving area clients. The company’s newest facility is at 31775 Hayman Street in Hayward. Comprising 75,328 square feet, it will provide warehousing, product staging and distribution services. The opening followed last October’s launch of two new RK facilities in Newark, California, at 6753 Mowry Avenue and 7375 Morton Avenue. Last summer, RK also expanded into a 40,200 square foot facility at 1619 Whipple Road in Fremont.New California warehouse for logistics provider | RK Logistics Group, a Silicon Valley provider of warehousing, eCommerce fulfillment and supply chain management services, has expanded into Hayward, California, marking the latest addition to RK’s network of distribution facilities serving area clients. The company’s newest facility is at 31775 Hayman Street in Hayward. Comprising 75,328 square feet, it will provide warehousing, product staging and distribution services. The opening followed last October’s launch of two new RK facilities in Newark, California, at 6753 Mowry Avenue and 7375 Morton Avenue. Last summer, RK also expanded into a 40,200 square foot facility at 1619 Whipple Road in Fremont.

Western Star recalling small number of 4900 model trucks

Daimler Trucks North America is recalling approximately 21 model year 2021-2022 Western Star 4900 trucks for a potential steering issue, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

In the affected trucks, the steering shaft pinch bolt may not have been properly tightened, allowing the steering shaft to separate from the steering gear. If this were to occur, there could be a loss of steering control.

Dealers will inspect and tighten the pinch bolt as necessary, free of charge. Owners can contact DTNA customer service at 1-800-547-0712 with recall number FL-914. NHTSA’s recall number is 21V-946.

Great Dane recall hits 3,200 trailers

Great Dane Trailers is recalling certain 2022 Champion dry van and Everest refrigerated trailers in which the wheel hubs may have an insufficient amount of lubrication, which could cause the hub bearings to fail.

Hub bearing failure could cause the wheel hub assembly to detach, causing a loss of stability and control, creating a road hazard, and increasing the risk of a crash.

Great Dane will work with SAF Holland, the wheel hub supplier, to inspect the wheel hubs and add the proper amount of lubricant as necessary, free of charge. Owners can contact Great Dane customer service at 1-877-369-3493. NHTSA’s recall number is 21V-943.

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