Under the OSHA Act, employers are responsible for providing a safe work environment, free from hazards that can cause serious harm. On June 10, 2021, the Department of Labor (DOL) along with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) posted new guidance to protect at-risk and unvaccinated employees from COVID-19 in the workplace.
Part of this new guidance is recommended, while the regulations for healthcare workplaces are requirements set by the mandatory COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard, with limited exceptions. The ETS is effective immediately, and employers must comply with most provisions within 14 to 30 days. Find out if your workplace is covered by the COVID-19 Healthcare ETS here.
Highlights of the ETS requirements include:
- Developing a COVID-19 policy in writing if you have 10+ employees
- Providing and ensuring each employee wears a facemask or other PPE
- Health screens at entrances where direct patient care is provided
Additional guidance for employers:
- Provide paid time off if your employees want to get vaccinated. While there is no federal law for granting paid time off for vaccinations, some states are setting their own regulations. Watch our HR experts break down vaccine mandates in the workplace here.
- If an employee is sick or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, they should stay home. Creating a culture that encourages employees to stay home when they are sick often starts with your workplace policies
- Maintain physical distancing for at-risk employees in common areas of your workplace. You may be able to set occupancy limits in specific spaces, create flexible work hours, or remote work options.
- Provide face coverings at no cost to at-risk employees, unless their role requires a respirator or other PPE. You may need to make reasonable accommodations if an employee can’t wear a face covering.
- Employees should be able to access and understand your COVID-19 policies and procedures easily. This starts with training managers on COVID-19 policies and communicating those policies frequently.
- Report COVID-19 cases to OSHA. Employers are responsible for recording work-related cases of COVID-19 illness on OSHA’s Form 300 logs.
- Make it easy for employees to discuss COVID-19-related hazards. Employees should know where to go with concerns about their safety at work and that there will be no retaliation for sharing those concerns.