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COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing; Emergency Temporary Standard

OSHA released its Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on protecting employees from the COVID-19 virus. This temporary rule will be effective December 5, 2021 for meeting all requirements except Testing. The testing requirements will be effective January 4, 2022. The ETS will be valid for 6 months. While this is a "temporary" rule. OSHA may decide to submit the rule as a permanent rule.

Brief overview of the ETS. (Not all inclusive)

The rule requires employers with 100 or more employees to develop, implement, document/retain and enforce the COVID-19 vaccination policy. Or adopt a policy requiring employees to:

  • Be vaccinated or

  • undergo regular COVID-19 testing...

In addition the rule may also require Employers to:

  • Determine the vaccination status of each employee and document.

  • Ensure each worker who is not fully vaccinated is tested for COVID-19 at least weekly

  • Require employees to provide prompt notice when they test positive for COVID-19 or receive a COVID-19 diagnosis.

  • Remove covid positive employees from the workplace, regardless of vaccination status.

  • Retain testing records for the duration of employment (plus 30 years in some cases).

  • Provide OSHA with the aggregate number of fully vaccinated employees at the workplace, along with the total number of employees at that workplace within four hours of a request from OSHA.

  • Ensure 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.

  • Report work-related COVID-19 hospitalizations within 24 hours of learning about them, and report work-related fatalities within 8 hours of learning about them.

  • Provide each employee with the requirements of the ETS and workplace policies and procedures:

    • vaccine efficacy, safety, and

    • the benefits of being vaccinated

    • protections against retaliation and discrimination and

    • laws that provide for criminal penalties for knowingly supplying false statements or documentation.

It’s almost certain that legal challenges will follow and unless the courts or states step in successfully, this rule and short deadline will require diligent actions by employers.

Employers should start interpreting the rule and developing a process for compliance. Contact us should you need any assistance:

For more information you can view the ETS from the federal register link below:

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