On Sept. 9, President Biden announced that OSHA is developing an emergency rule that will require workplaces with at least 100 workers to be fully vaccinated, or to have employees show a negative COVID-19 test at least once a week.
The announcement occurred on the same day that President Biden signed Executive Orders requiring federal employees and most federal contractors to be fully vaccinated. Medical facility workers, such as those who work in nursing homes, hospitals, and home health care, who treat Medicare or Medicaid patients, are also required to be vaccinated.
Additionally, this emergency rule requires these employers to provide workers paid time off to get the vaccine.
“The bottom line: We’re going to protect vaccinated workers from unvaccinated co-workers,” Biden said. “We’re going to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by increasing the share of the workforce that is vaccinated in businesses all across America.”
So how does this affect you as an employer? Let’s break it down.
Mandate overview: who it affects and how
As per Forbes, the mandate focuses on four main groups of workers and employers:
- Private employers with 100-plus employees – Either vaccination or weekly COVID-19 testing is required, or else OSHA will issue fines of up to $13,600 per violation.
- Federal employees and contractors – 90% of federal workers will be required to get vaccinated, though the requirement does not apply to non-executive branch federal employees. Any government workers covered can no longer opt out of the vaccination by way of regular testing and social distancing.
- Teachers & staff from federal education programs: This group includes head start and early head start programs operated by the Bureau of Indian Education and the Department of Defense.
- Most medical facility workers: Those who work in nursing homes, hospitals, and home health care, who treat Medicare or Medicaid patients – approximately 17 million workers.
Religious or medical exemptions recognized by law will still be eligible. And, employers must give employees both paid time off to get the vaccine and to recover from any side effects.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is set to create rules and to enforce the vaccination requirement for the federal education sector, while OSHA is currently in the process of updating its emergency temporary standard.
Currently, there is no set date for implementation, but it’s expected to go into effect within the next few weeks.
Some argued that a mandate would put an increased burden on already struggling business owners. While others such as Marcy Goldstein-Gelb, co-executive director of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, called the mandate a “missed opportunity” to expand COVID-19 prevention plans to all workplaces.
If you’re looking for resources on how to implement a vaccine requirement or other safety measures can review resources from SAFER: Safe Actions for Employee Returns.
SAFER is an NSC initiative aiming to develop specific resources and recommendations for employees by industry and risk.
We’ll make sure to keep you updated with news and updates as they happen.
About Worksite Medical
In most cases, OSHA requires medical surveillance testing, and at no cost to employees.
Worksite Medical makes that program easier with mobile medical testing.
We conduct on-site respirator fit tests, as well as audiometric exams, pulmonary function tests and heavy metal lab work, right on your job site. We also keep accurate, easy-to-access medical records for your convenience. You’ll keep your employees at work, and stay ahead of OSHA inspections.
With Worksite Medical, a mobile medical testing unit — we can bring all the resources of a lab to you. Our certified lab technicians can perform both qualitative and quantitative respirator tests to ensure a perfect fit.
Protect your team and your workplace now with Worksite Medical. Not sure what you need? Try our medical testing wizard here.
Give us a call at 1-844-622-8633, or complete the form below to schedule an on-site visit or to get your free quote!