OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard
On November 4, 2021, OSHA published a COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS).
This standard covers all private companies with over 100 employees. This includes all printers with at least 100 employees.
As of 11/6/21, the 5th US Court of Appeals blocked the ETS pending legal review. In addition, the ETS is undergoing several other legal actions from the Sixth, Seventh, Eighth and Eleventh Circuits.
What Should You Do?
As of right now, your best course of action is to become familiar with the requirements of the OSHA ETS. In addition, prepare to implement those requirements if the stay is lifted and the emergency rule is revived.
What does the ETS require employers to do?
- Develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, download the sample mandatory vaccination policy OR establish, implement, and enforce a policy allowing employees to elect either to get vaccinated or to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at the workplace, download the sample employee choice policy.
- Vaccination Status
- Determine the vaccination status of each employee,
- Obtain acceptable proof of vaccination from vaccinated employees,
- Maintain records of each employee’s vaccination status, and
- Maintain a roster of each employee’s vaccination status.
- Support vaccination by providing employees reasonable time, including up to four hours of paid time, to receive each primary vaccination dose. Also provide reasonable time and paid sick leave to recover from any side effects experienced following each primary vaccination dose.
- Ensure that each employee who is not fully vaccinated is tested for COVID-19 at least weekly (if in the workplace at least once a week) or within 7 days before returning to work (if away from the workplace for a week or longer).
- Require employees to promptly provide notice when they receive a positive COVID-19 test or are diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Immediately remove from the workplace any employee, regardless of vaccination status, who received a positive COVID-19 test or diagnosed with COVID-19 by a licensed healthcare provider. The employee must stay out of the workplace until return to work criteria are met.
- Ensure that each employee who is not fully vaccinated wears a face covering when indoors or when occupying a vehicle with another person for work purposes, except in certain limited circumstances.
- Provide each employee with information with information about the requirements of the ETS. This must be in a language and at a literacy level the employee understands. Information must include workplace policies and procedures established to implement the ETS; vaccine efficacy, safety, and the benefits of being vaccinated (by providing the CDC document “Key Things to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines”); protections against retaliation and discrimination; and laws that provide for criminal penalties for knowingly supplying false statements or documentation.
- Report work-related COVID-19 fatalities to OSHA within 8 hours of learning about them, and work-related COVID-19 in-patient hospitalizations within 24 hours of the employer learning about the hospitalization.
- Lastly, make certain records available for examination and copying to an employee (and to anyone having written authorized consent of that employee) or an employee representative.
When does it take effect?
December 5, 2021 – All requirements of the standard except for employee testing.
January 5, 2022 – Weekly employee testing for unvaccinated workers.
From PIM President, Steve Bonoff
“Printing Industry Midwest and its members commit to promoting vaccinations to ensure our members, customers, and communities remain safe and healthy. Federal vaccine requirements should be flexible enough to ensure we can achieve those goals without undue cost burdens and other potential disruptions. PIM works with the National Association of Manufacturers to share the perspectives and experiences of our community with the administration, as these programs are enacted.”
Contact Steve Bonoff for more information. In addition, feel free to share your perspectives on the new standard.
Currently, the ETS faces multiple legal challenges from states and corporations. Due to these lawsuits, the future of the ETS remains uncertain. While the final result is unknown, it will take weeks of planning for employers to comply with the ETS’s deadlines. Accordingly, employers may want to continue preparing for the ETS as if it is going to take effect while the lawsuits continue.
While Minnesota operates under MNOSHA, a state run program, they must approve or disapprove the ETS within 30 days.
Currently, OSHA released this as an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). That means that this standard only remains in effect for 6 months. However, OSHA intends to make this a permanent standard. Public comment period starts now and ends on December 5, 2021. If you agree or disagree with this ETS, you have a right to comment publicly about this proposed standard. Click on “Submit a Formal Comment” at the top of the page.
OSHA provides extra information on their website. A good place to start is OSHA’s FAQ. OSHA’s Summary Page contains more good information. OSHA also provides a Fact Sheet and a Webinar to provide guidance. You can read the full 154 page ETS on the Federal Register website.