OSHA Publishes Vaccination & Testing Standard for Employers with 100+ Employees

Today, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a new emergency temporary standard (ETS) requiring employers with 100 or more employees to ensure employees are vaccinated against COVID-19 or comply with an alternative weekly testing requirement. OSHA was directed to develop the ETS by President Biden on September 9. The action also initiates a more formal rule making on OSHA COVID-19 vaccination requirements. 

Click here for the full text of the Emergency Temporary Standard
Click here for a fact sheet on the Emergency Temporary Standard

Under this standard, covered employers must develop, implement and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, unless they adopt a policy requiring employees to choose to either be vaccinated or undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work.
The ETS also requires employers to do the following:
  • Vaccination Status Requirement: Determine the vaccination status of each employee, obtain acceptable proof of vaccination status from vaccinated employees and maintain records and a roster of each employee’s vaccination status.
  • Pay Employees for the Time it takes to Get Vaccinated: All covered employers are required to provide paid-time for their employees to get vaccinated and, if needed, sick leave to recover from side effects experienced that keep them from working.
  • Requirements when employee tests positive for COVID-19: Require employees to provide prompt notice when they test positive for COVID-19 or receive a COVID-19 diagnosis. Employers must then remove the employee from the workplace, regardless of vaccination status; employers must not allow them to return to work until they meet required criteria.
  • Require weekly testing for employees not vaccinated for COVID-19: Ensure each worker who is not fully vaccinated is tested for COVID-19 at least weekly (if the worker is in the workplace at least once a week) or within 7 days before returning to work (if the worker is away from the workplace for a week or longer).
  • Require masks for unvaccinated employees: Ensure that, in most circumstances, each employee who has not been fully vaccinated wears a face covering when indoors or when occupying a vehicle with another person for work purposes.
It is important to note that the requirements of the ETS do not apply to:
  • Employees who do not report to a workplace where other individuals are present;
  • Employees while working from home;
  • Employees who work exclusively outdoors.
The emergency temporary standard does not require employers to pay for testing. Employers may be required to pay for testing to comply with other laws, regulations, collective bargaining agreements, or other collectively negotiated agreements. Employers are also not required to pay for face coverings.

OSHA is offering compliance assistance to help businesses implement the standard, including a webinar, frequently asked questions and other compliance materials.

Employers must comply with most requirements within 30 days of publication and with testing requirements within 60 days of publication, which is expected tomorrow. 

WDMA and its Safety & Risk Management Committee are reviewing the ETS and will be responding to OSHA accordingly during the formal rulemaking process.  For any further questions, please contact Jeff Inks at [email protected] or Kevin McKenney at [email protected].  
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