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OSHA ETS Released

[Nov 4] The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace.

A fact sheet describing the rule and the ETS and more information is available on OSHA’s website. AGCA will provide more information as it reviews the details of the ETS.

The White House (link) announced that the deadline for direct federal contractors to have their employees fully vaccinated will be same as the new OSHA ETS, January 4, 2022.  Previously, the deadline for direct federal contractors was December 8, 2021.

It is important to note that federal contractors will still see the contract clause mandating vaccination in federal solicitations, new contracts, etc., as none of the other dates relevant to federal contractors has changed.  As of this e-mail the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force website has not been updated to reflect this extended deadline.  However, we expect it to be updated to reflect this announcement from the White House.

The Administration has previously implemented policies requiring millions of federal employees and federal contractors to be fully vaccinated. To make it easy for businesses and workers to comply, the Administration is announcing today that the deadline for workers to receive their shots will be the same for the OSHA rule, the CMS rule, and the previously-announced federal contractor vaccination requirement. Employees falling under the ETS, CMS, or federal contractor rules will need to have their final vaccination dose – either their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or single dose of Johnson & Johnson – by January 4, 2022. OSHA is also clarifying that it will not apply its new rule to workplaces covered by either the CMS rule or the federal contractor vaccination requirement. And, both OSHA and CMS are making clear that their new rules preempt any inconsistent state or local laws, including laws that ban or limit an employer’s authority to require vaccination, masks, or testing.

Streamlining Implementation and Setting One Deadline Across Different Vaccination Requirements: 

The rules released today ensure employers know which requirements apply to which workplaces. Federal contractors may have some workplaces subject to requirements for federal contractors and other workplaces subject to the newly-released COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing ETS. To make it easy for all employers to comply with the requirements, the deadline for the federal contractor vaccination requirement will be aligned with those for the CMS rule and the ETS. Employees falling under the ETS, CMS, or federal contractor rules will need to have their final vaccination dose – either their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or single dose of Johnson & Johnson – by January 4, 2022. This will make it easier for employers to ensure their workforce is vaccinated, safe, and healthy, and ensure that federal contractors implement their requirements on the same timeline as other employers in their industries. And, the newly-released ETS will not be applied to workplaces subject to the federal contractor requirement or CMS rule, so employers will not have to track multiple vaccination requirements for the same employees.

A briefing was held on November 4. Click here to view the COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard webinar.

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