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BY Megan Nowicki|November 7, 2021

How to Comply with OSHA’s new COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”)

 

The Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), newly issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), requires compliance by all companies with over 100 employees. This rule establishes new regulations associated with employers’ COVID-19 safety standards and has firm deadlines to maintain compliance

To aid companies that may be affected by the ETS, this guide, which includes common questions and answers, will assist in navigating this new OSHA standard.

  1. What actions must employers take within the next thirty (30) days (by SUNDAY, December 5, 2021)?

It is not sufficient to post the ETS in your breakroom or email it to all employees. This ETS requires that companies institute a written policy and procedure document that incorporates the ETS’ requirements and stipulates how those will be applied throughout the Company. Failure to furnish this information to employees by Sunday, December 5, 2021, could result in fines for non-compliance with OSHA’s ETS.

There are currently no exemptions for social distancing or sitting in an enclosed office. The ETS states that the Company is required to “ensure that each employee who is not fully vaccinated wears a face covering when indoors…”

The mask mandate is required to be instituted by employers by December 5, 2021. Further, Employers are required to implement policies and procedures that ensure that their employees are compliant with this mask mandate.

OSHA can, and will, request this information during an inspection. Employers should err on the side of caution and have all employees send their vaccination cards to the company’s Human Resources representative for storage in their medical records file. The Employer should maintain an updated list of each employee and their vaccination status.

2. What actions must employers take within sixty (60) days? (by TUESDAY, January 4, 2022)?

3. Are there any exemptions?

4. What are the consequences for not complying with OSHA’s ETS?

OSHA can fine an Employer $13,653.00 per violation. For example, if an Employer is cited for three unvaccinated persons working indoors and not wearing masks, then the Employer could be fined for each one separately totaling $40,959.00.

If OSHA determines that an Employer is willfully violating its ETS, then it can fine up to $136,532.00 per violation.

5. For Your Information

Employers are required to report any COVID-19 employee hospitalizations directly to OSHA within twenty-four (24) hours of finding out about the hospitalization. If an employee dies from COVID-19, the Employer is required to notify OSHA within eight (8) hours of finding out about the Employee’s death.

Employers are required to make available to employees and their representatives the aggregate number of fully vaccinated employees within the workplace along with the total number of employees at that workplace. Since this provision states specifically “at that workplace”, an Employer with employees at multiple locations is required to provide this information for each separate location.

6. Where do we go from here?

While the lawsuits snake their way through the legal systems, employers must take action to ensure compliance and to avoid any fines or complaints for noncompliance. Employers should not wait and see if an injunction is issued that may delay these deadlines. Given the proximity to the holiday season, employers need to be prepared and ready to comply.

Questions? Contact us!

If you have any questions or need assistance in preparing a policy that complies with the ETS, please do not hesitate to contact our labor and employment attorneys at Shuffield, Lowman & Wilson, P.A. We look forward to helping you protect your business!