OSHA Releases Emergency Temporary Standard on Vaccine Mandates for Employers With Over 100 Employees

November 4, 2021

Today, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring private employers with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccination, or weekly testing and masking for unvaccinated employees. Significant takeaways from this long-awaited ETS are that covered employers ensure that all unvaccinated workers begin wearing masks by December 5, 2021, and provide a negative COVID-19 test on a weekly basis beginning January 4, 2022.

Legal challenges to the ETS have been and will be made, but until these challenges are resolved, employers must prepare for compliance.

Here is a link to the Federal Register: Public Inspection: COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing; Emergency Temporary Standard (490 pages) pdf to be published on November 5, 2021.

OSHA SUMMARY COVID-19 VACCINATION AND TESTING ETS

OSHA has also published a three-page summary, OSHA Summary COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing ETS (link). The summary states that unvaccinated workers are becoming seriously ill and dying as a result of occupational exposures to COVID-19.

The ETS generally applies to employers of 100 or more employees in all workplaces that are under OSHA's authority and jurisdiction including industries that are as diverse as manufacturing, retail, delivery services, warehouses, meatpacking, agriculture, construction, logging, maritime, and healthcare.

The ETS requires employers of 100 or more to determine the vaccination status and maintain vaccination records for all employees. For employees that are not fully vaccinated, the ETS outlines masking requirements and mandates COVID-19 testing at least weekly.  Finally, the ETS provides guidelines for employers regarding employees who test positive, including communication strategies for employees; reports to OSHA; and documentation of employee vaccines and COVID-19 test results.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR RELEASE OSHA'S EMERGENCY TEMPORARY STANDARD ON VACCINATION AND TESTING - November 4, 2021 (link)


SHRM RECOMMENDATIONS FOR OSHA 

In response to OSHA's ETS, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has published a list of recommended steps to assist employers with compliance, How to Comply with OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination Emergency Temporary Standard (link).

Steps outlined include:

1. Determine Employer Coverage
2. Survey Current Employees on Vaccination Status
3. Research Testing, Accessibility and Cost
4. Consider Paid-Time-Off Requirements
5. Address Remote-Worker Requirements
6. Determine a Compliance Approach and Create a Written Policy
7. Develop Employee Communications


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