Since the October 12 Biden Administration directive to OSHA to develop a rule mandating COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly testing for all private sector businesses with 100+ employees, the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) has been submitted by OSHA to the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for review.
No one is sure how long the OIRA review process will take but the estimates are in the days to weeks category. Employers are already implementing the precautions anticipated to be approved by OIRA.
Please note that individual businesses may voluntarily decide to impose vaccine mandates or testing on employees, and some businesses have already begun the process of imposing these mandates.
Regardless of the timeline for the ETS, businesses should begin preparing for the ETS to become law, with noncompliance earning hefty penalties. Steps that need to take place to prepare include the following:
- Decide on a method for determining employee vaccination status. If this is a display of a vaccination card or verification through state records, this decision needs to be made prior to requiring vaccination status
- Schedule onsite vaccination or testing clinics, or locate the nearest facility for these services
- Write policies that address the confidentiality of vaccine status and test results and clearly spell out the company’s vaccine/testing policy
- Decide on how the company will manage religious or disability exemptions
- Determine policy and procedural ‘next steps’ for uncooperative employees
Implementing the OSHA ETS will face the same challenges at smaller companies as at the 100+ employee companies that have already implemented vaccine mandates. This is a challenging time for business owners and their staff.
DII is your partner in helping your company roll out the OSHA ETS and we are ready to provide counsel for risk related to this new way of working with your employees. If you have any questions or concerns about rollout, please contact your DII representative.