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OSHA Issues COVID-19 Vaccination & Testing ETS

November 4, 2021

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released its Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on November 4, 2021 which outlines workplace requirements and compliance effective dates for large private employers to mitigate the risk of contracting COVID-19 in the workplace. See this ETS summary prepared by OSHA.

New Vaccination Requirement for Employers With 100 or More Employees:

  • Employers Covered by the ETS: The ETS generally applies to employers in all workplaces that are under OSHA’s authority and jurisdiction, including industries as diverse as manufacturing, retail, delivery services, warehouses, meatpacking, agriculture, construction, logging, maritime, and healthcare. Within these industries, all employers that have a total of at least 100 employees firm or corporate-wide, at any time the ETS is in effect, are covered.
  • Workplaces not covered by the ETS: This standard does not apply to workplaces covered under the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force COVID-19 Workplace Safety: Guidance for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors or in settings where employees provide healthcare services or healthcare support services when subject to the requirements of the Healthcare ETS.
  • Employees of Covered Employers Not Subject to the Requirements: The ETS does not apply to employees who do not report to a workplace where other individuals such as coworkers or customers are present, employees while they are working from home, or employees who work exclusively outdoors.
  • Get Employees Vaccinated by January 4th and Require Unvaccinated Employees to Produce a Negative Test on at Least a Weekly Basis: All covered employers must ensure that their employees have received the necessary shots to be fully vaccinated – either two doses of Pfizer or Moderna, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson – by January 4th. After that, all covered employers must ensure that any employees who have not received the necessary shots begin producing a verified negative test to their employer on at least a weekly basis, and they must remove from the workplace any employee who receives a positive COVID-19 test or is diagnosed with COVID-19 by a licensed health care provider. The ETS lays out the wide variety of tests that comply with the standard. The ETS does not require employers to provide or pay for tests. Employers may be required to pay for testing because of other laws or collective bargaining agreements.
  • 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.
  • Ensure All Unvaccinated Employees are Masked: All covered employers must ensure that unvaccinated employees wear a face mask while in the workplace.
  • Other Requirements and Compliance Date: Employers are subject to requirements for reporting and recordkeeping that are spelled out in the detailed OSHA materials. While the testing requirement for unvaccinated workers will begin after January 4th, employers must be in compliance with all other requirements – such as providing paid-time for employees to get vaccinated and masking for unvaccinated workers – on December 5th.
  • Additional information on the ETS:

Conner Strong & Buckelew will continue to work with our clients to implement and understand the complex requirements of the ETS, and we will provide updates as new information and compliance resources become available. Please contact your Conner Strong & Buckelew account representative toll-free at 1-877-861-3220 with any questions. For a complete list of Legislative Updates issued by Conner Strong & Buckelew, visit our online Resource Center.