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OSHA releases national COVID-19 vaccination and testing ETS and answers FAQs

November 11, 2021 Article 78 min read
Authors:
Scott McLellan Jonathon Trionfi
OSHA issues long-awaited vaccination and testing regulations for private employers with 100 or more employees. This bulletin provides an overview of the requirements, exemptions, important dates, and OSHA’s answers to FAQs regarding the emergency temporary standard.
View of buildings in a downtown area.Editor’s note: On Nov. 4, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), which requires private employers with 100 or more employees to ensure employees are either fully vaccinated or take a COVID-19 test weekly and wear a mask. In January, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked OSHA’s ETS. This was a 6-3 decision. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ vaccine mandate for healthcare workers will still go into effect. We’ll provide updates on this if there are any changes. 

On Nov. 4, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an emergency temporary standard (ETS) requiring private employers with 100 or more employees to comply with most provisions of the ETS by Dec. 5, 2021 and with its testing requirements by Jan. 4, 2022. State OSHA programs will have 30 days to adopt the ETS or implement their own vaccination standard that is at least as effective as the federal ETS.

To comply with the ETS, employers must:

  • Develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, or
  • Create a policy allowing employees to choose to get a vaccination or wear a face covering in the workplace and have weekly COVID-19 testing done.

Even though a stay has been issued putting these rules on hold, employers are still urged to plan to comply. This bulletin provides an overview of the requirements, exemptions, important dates, and OSHA’s answers to FAQs regarding this ETS. Employers should carefully review this information and continue to monitor OSHA communications on any changes or amendments to the ETS.

This Compliance Bulletin is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice. ©2021 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

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