OSHA’s New COVID ETS Published in Federal Register

OSHA’s New COVID ETS Published in Federal Register

Quick note: A US Federal appeals court has put a temporary stay or hold on this new OSHA COVID ETS, so things may change as the legal systems works through these issues. 

According to a November 4, 2021 OSHA press release, OSHA has announced a new emergency temporary standard (ETS) related to COVID that addresses issues related to mandatory employer COVID vaccination policies, COVID testing, wearing of face masks, and more. The new COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard was published at the Federal Register on 11/5/2021 and went into effect that same day, OSHA will be accepting comments on the new COVID ETS until 12/6/2021, and employers must comply with MOST of the requirements within 30 days after the date of publication (so that means November 4, 2021 plus 30 days) and with the testing requirements within the ETS within 60 days of publication (so that means November 4, 2021 plus 60 days).

We'll give you more information about the new ETS below.

Which Employers Are Affected by the New ETS?

The first thing to know is which employers are affected (and which are not). According to OSHA, the new ETS covers employers with 100 or more employees, firm- or company-wide. Additionally, in the 26 states with OSHA State Plans (see list), the new ETS covers public sector workers who are employed by state and local governments. This includes educators and school staff.

What Must Covered Employers Do?

Employers covered by this new COVID ETS must "develop, implement and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, unless they adopt a policy requiring employees to choose to either be vaccinated or undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work."

Additionally, covered employers must:

  • Determine the COVID vaccination status of each of their employees; get acceptable proof of vaccination status from vaccinated employees; keep records and a roster of each employee's COVID vaccination status
  • Require their employees provide prompt notice when they (1) test positive for COVID-19 or (2) receive a COVID-19 diagnosis.
  • Remove employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 or received a COVID-19 diagnosis from the work (the vaccination status of the employee is irrelevant at this point). Employers must not allow workers to return until they meet required criteria.
  • For workers who are not fully vaccinated, and if the worker is in the workplace at least once a week, the employer must ensure each worker is tested for COVID-19 at least weekly. If the worker is away from the workplace for a week or longer, the employer must ensure the worker has been tested within seven days before returning to work.
  • Ensure that any employee who has not been fully vaccinated wears a face covering when indoors or when inside a vehicle with another person for work purposes.

Do Employers Have to Pay for Testing or Masks?

The short answer is that OSHA is not requiring employers to pay employees for COVID tests or for "COVID" masks.

That said, employers may be required to do so by other laws, regulations, agencies, etc.

Where Can Employers Learn More about this New OSHA COVID ETS?

OSHA's offering quite a few ways to learn more about this new ETS, including:

Does Vector Solutions Offer Products to Help with COVID Compliance?

Yes, absolutely.

First, we've got our LiveSafe mobile risk communication platform for COVID-related communications and employee self-health attestations.

Second, we've got our Vector EHS safety management software, for COVID-related JHAs, OSHA illness recordkeeping and reporting, and more.

And third, we've got online safety and health training tools, including a learning management system (LMS) for assigning, delivering, and tracking training and even our free Vector Cares COVID training library.

Let us know if we can help you with your COVID compliance needs or if there are any questions we can answer. Before you go, feel free to download our COVID/return-to-work checklist, as well (please note this checklist pre-dates the new ETS).




Want to Know More?

Reach out and a Vector Solutions representative will respond back to help answer any questions you might have.