The Hardwood Federation issued an Action Alert following the official publication in the Federal Register (FR) of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Emergency Technical Standard (ETS) related to COVID-19 mitigation. The Action Alert focuses on the new details outlining impacts on day-to-day business operations. The following are details that industry should keep in mind as the Administration moves toward the January 4, 2022 deadline for full vaccination of employees.
- The mandate applies to companies that employ 100 or more workers. Beginning January 4, all employees must have received a full dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, or be subject to weekly testing and mandatory masking in the workplace. The Administration will not require employers to pay for ongoing testing and facial coverings for those not demonstrating full vaccination status. These responsibilities will fall on the employee.
- Although the ETS establishes a 100+ employee threshold for its application, federal regulators are taking comments on the ability of smaller employers to implement vaccine and testing requirements within their operations. This opens the door for possible future mandates on companies employing fewer than 100 workers.
- The mandate will impose new record-keeping requirements, including documentation of employees’ vaccination status. Employees must submit proof of their vaccination status to their employers. Acceptable documentation includes a record from a health care provider such as a pharmacy, a COVID-19 vaccination card, or relevant medical records from a physician, among other documents.
- Employers must inform every employee about the new requirements, including internal processes to comply with the new rules and health impacts of their implementation.
- Although the deadline for full compliance falls on January 4, employers must take steps to reach the final deadline by December 5. These include a guarantee of paid time off for vaccination, up to four hours per dose for every employee, and a mask mandate for those who have not received the vaccine.
- The new mandates do not address the need for booster shots.
- At this time, federal regulators are not addressing immunity based on prior infection as a means of demonstrating compliance with the new requirements. The agency will, however, take comment on this issue.