OSHA issues COVID-19 emergency temporary standard

November 5, 2021 By    

Editor’s note: As of Nov. 12, 2021, OSHA said it has suspended the implementation and enforcement of this emergency temporary standard. We are closely following the situation and will update this story as needed.

The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) issued an emergency temporary standard for protection from COVID-19. Employers with more than 100 employees will be required to develop, implement and enforce a policy that demands full vaccination against COVID-19 or regular weekly testing with mandatory face coverings.

The emergency temporary standard requires employers to provide paid time to workers to get vaccinated and to allow for paid leave to recover from any side effects. However, employers are not required to pay the costs of testing unvaccinated employees or for face coverings.

According to the Department of Labor, records of employee vaccination status, testing results and policies must be documented by employers.

Employees exempt from the vaccination or testing and face-covering requirements include those who work remotely or work exclusively outdoors.

The rule will cover two-thirds of the nation’s private-sector workforce. OSHA estimates that it will save thousands of lives and prevent more than 250,000 hospitalizations due to workplace exposure to COVID-19 over the course of the emergency temporary standard.

The emergency temporary standard is effective Nov. 5. However, at this time, OSHA has suspended implementation and enforcement of the emergency temporary standard after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit blocked the measure.

The National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) is formally contesting the standard alongside the American Trucking Association, the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, the International Warehouse and Logistics Association, the Food Industry Association, the National Association of Convenience Stores, the National Retail Federation and several other interested parties.

OSHA is seeking to lift the stay issued by the federal court, and NPGA anticipates the case will reach the U.S. Supreme Court quickly.

NPGA will hold a webinar on Friday, Nov. 19, from 2-3 p.m. EDT with more information about the new standard, compliance and the action NPGA is taking.

Comments, feedback or information on OSHA’s new emergency temporary standard can be shared with the Department of Labor at regulations.gov.

Mandate for federal contractors and subcontractors

To align with the compliance deadline for mandatory testing of unvaccinated employees under the emergency temporary standard, the White House plans to delay the compliance deadline for federal contractors and subcontractors to implement vaccination or testing requirements on employees serving federal government facilities.

NPGA has developed a template document for propane marketers to request a temporary exception from the COVID-19 vaccination mandate for federal contractors and subcontractors.

About the Author:

Danielle Pesta is the senior digital media manager for North Coast Media, the parent company of LP Gas. She can be reached at dpesta@northcoastmedia.net.

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