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featured image showing doctor holding syringe and using cotton before make injection to patient in a medical mask. Covid-19 or coronavirus vaccine

OSHA to Mandate Vaccine and Testing Temporary Standard for COVID-19

New Requirements May Affect Employers With 100 Or More Employees

On Sept. 9, 2021, President Biden announced that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing an emergency temporary standard (ETS). The new ETS will require private-sector employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or test negative for COVID-19 every week before coming to work. 

This announcement follows the vaccination, masking and social distancing requirements issued by the president in July for the public sector—federal employees and on-site contractors. 

There currently is no time frame as to when the new ETS will be released. The government estimates that the ETS will impact over 80 million private-sector workers.

Current OSHA ETS

OSHA currently has a COVID-19 ETS for the health care and health care support workers. This ETS covers hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities; emergency responders; home health care workers; and employees in ambulatory care settings where suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients are treated.

OSHA has also issued guidance to help employers and workers not covered by the health care ETS. This guidance is to help employers protect workers who are unvaccinated, otherwise at-risk, or fully vaccinated but in areas of substantial or high community transmission.

Next Steps

All Employers regardless of size should continue to protect at-risk, unvaccinated and fully vaccinated workers. Large employers should also monitor OSHA communication channels to become familiar with the expected private sector ETS once it is published.  For relative information like this, see our recent blog posts: Don’t Miss OSHA’s Latest Guidance for Employers Published August 19, 2021 and Employees May Need Reasonable Accommodations Related to COVID-19 Independent of Vaccination Status August 26, 2021. For assistance with these matters or any HR issue, contact HRinDemand, your total people solution.

Melissa Marsh, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, is a human resources consultant and founder of HRinDemand, a human resources company in Reno, NV, offering expert guidance and easy-to-use tools to help small businesses with employment regulations, compliance, employee relations, and company growth.