OSHA Issues Emergency COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Standard

November 4, 2021
Matthew Horn
SmithAmundsen OSHA Alert



In September, the Biden Administration announced its plan to have OSHA issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) requiring employers with one hundred or more employees to ensure their employees are either fully vaccinated or tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis. That promised ETS was published today. Linked here are OSHA’s summary of the ETS and the FAQ’s relating to the ETS.  As it currently stands, there is a 30 day comment period, so employers within the scope of the ETS do not have to comply with its provisions for at least 30 days—and for the provisions relating to weekly testing for unvaccinated employees, that deadline is 60 days. 

As to which employers are covered under the ETS, it generally applies to private employers in industries generally covered by OSHA (except healthcare) with more than 100 employees total at all of its locations, including those who work remotely. However, there are exceptions to the requirements of the ETS for employees who work remotely and employees who work outside, as well as others. Below are some of the important employer requirements under the ETS:

Moving forward, we anticipate that there will be no shortage of legal challenges to the planned rule, and will keep you advised as to any and all updates on the ETS.