Workplace Safety

OSHA vaccine requirements: What they mean for you

OSHA COVID-19 Guidelines Now Released

In September, President Biden announced that there would be a new federal vaccine requirement for employers. At the time, the only details provided were:

  • The requirement would apply to federal contractors and organizations that employ more than 100 employees
  • That employees would need to be vaccinated or submit to a weekly testing regimen

President Biden communicated that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) would be responsible for putting out further specifics on the requirement. 

OSHA COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement Summary

Today, OSHA released the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on the COVID-19 vaccine requirement. Here is a summary of the announcement.

Who must comply?

  • Private employers with 100 or more employees firm-wide or corporate-wide. 
  • In states with OSHA-approved State Plans, state and local government employers with 100 or more employees are also required to comply

Who doesn’t have to comply?

  • Workplaces of employers who have fewer than 100 employees in total
  • Federal Contractors and Subcontractors (these organizations are covered by a separate requirement under the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force on COVID-19 Workplace Safety)
  • Healthcare settings that are subject to the requirements of the Healthcare ETS
  • Public employers in states without OSHA-approved State Plans

Note: Federal, State, and healthcare employers will need to comply with the relevant health and safety and vaccination requirements specific to them.

What is the timeline?

All covered employers must comply by January 4th, 2021.

What are included employers required to do?

Included employers are required to:

  1. Implement and enforce a written, mandatory vaccination policy, and/or...
  2. Require COVID-19 testing and face coverings for all unvaccinated employees

What are the requirements of the written, mandatory vaccination policy?

The policy must require vaccination for all employees, including all new employees as soon as practicable, except for employees:

  • For whom the COVID-19 vaccine is medically contraindicated
  • For whom medical necessity requires a delay in vaccination
  • That are legally entitled to a reasonable accommodation under federal civil rights laws because they have a disability or a sincerely-held religious belief, practice, or observance in conflict with the vaccination requirement

Any employee that falls under one of these exceptions or is partially vaccinated must submit to the COVID-19 testing and face covering requirements for unvaccinated employees.

What proof of vaccination is required?

Employers must require employees to provide an acceptable proof of vaccination status, including whether they are fully or partially vaccinated. Acceptable proof includes:

  • The record of immunization from a health care provider or pharmacy
  • A copy of the COVID-19 vaccination record card
  • A copy of medical records documenting the vaccination
  • A copy of immunization records from a public health, state, or tribal immunization information system
  • Other official documentation that contains the type of vaccine administered, date of administration, and the name of the healthcare professional or clinic site administering the vaccine
  • A signed and dated employee attestation is acceptable in instances when an employee is unable to produce proof of vaccination. That attestation must include:
  • Vaccination status (fully or partially vaccinated)
  • That the employee lost their copy of proof or is otherwise unable to produce proof

What time must employers provide for employees to get vaccinated?

  • Employers must provide a “reasonable” amount of time for each employee to leave work to get vaccinated
  • Employers must also provide a “reasonable” amount of time and paid sick leave to each employee for side effects experienced following vaccination

What are the requirements of the alternative COVID-19 testing policy?

If employers choose not to mandate a vaccination policy, they must implement the alternative COVID-19 testing and face mask policy.

For employees that come into the workplace at least once every seven days:

  • Employee must be tested at least once every seven days
  • Employee must provide documentation of the most recent COVID-19 test result to the employer no later than the seventh day following the date the employee last provided a test result

For employees that come into the workplace less frequently than once every seven days:

  • Employee must submit a negative COVID-19 test before coming into the workplace

What COVID-19 tests are eligible for the alternative COVID-19 testing policy?

  • The test must be cleared, approved, or authorized by the FDA to detect current infection with COVID-19
  • The test cannot be self-administered or self-read unless observed by an employer or an authorized Telehealth proctor

What are the face covering requirements under the alternative COVID-19 testing policy?

All employees that are not fully vaccinated (defined as two weeks after the last required shot for vaccination) must wear a face covering when indoors or or when occupying a vehicle with another person for work purposes. There are a few exceptions:

  • When an employee is alone in a room with floor to ceiling walls and a closed door
  • For a limited time when an employee is eating or drinking at the workplace
  • For a limited time when an employee is not wearing a face covering for identification purposes in compliance with safety and security requirements
  • When an employer can show that use of face coverings is infeasible or “creates a greater hazard”

What records must employers maintain?

Employers must maintain:

  • A record of each employee’s vaccination status
  • A record of each test result provided by an employee

These records must be preserved as long as the ETS is in effect.

Are there any other notable requirements?

  • Employers must require each employee to promptly notify the employer if they receive a positive COVID-19 test or are diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Employers must report any work-related COVID-19 fatality to OSHA within 8 hours of the employer learning about the fatality

How Scoop can help you stay compliant

Scoop provides an end-to-end solution for requiring, collecting, and verifying your employees’ vaccination status. We’ve built vaccination requirements and status directly into your employees’ workplace attendance experience, making it easy for them and ensuring vaccination status doesn’t get stale or forgotten in a field in your HRIS.

How Scoop’s vaccination requirements work: 

  • Scoop gives you granular controls to deploy vaccine protocols that fit your company’s policies and culture. Creating your vaccine policy takes minutes and goes into effect immediately for all employees.
  • Employees easily and securely enter their vaccination status and required proof documentation via the Scoop mobile apps or browser extensions.
  • In your Scoop dashboard, you can securely review and verify vaccination records. You can also filter your organization by vaccination status and see vaccination rates for your organization.

Vaccination requirements are just one part of Scoop’s Workplace Safety solution which also includes custom policies and health screening, contact tracing, and capacity management.

If you’re in need of support we’d love to speak with you! Scoop offers a 30 day free trial to make sure Scoop is the right fit for your team. 

Rob Sadow

Rob Sadow is Co-Founder and CEO of Scoop. He has spoken on key topics facing HR teams and their organizations in Fortune, Bloomberg, and at industry, academic, and investor conferences across the country. In his spare time, you can find him devouring just about any sport, especially if it’s a team from Atlanta.

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