On August 13, 2021, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued updated COVID-19 guidance for employers with vaccinated, unvaccinated, and otherwise at-risk employees. OSHA had previously released guidance on June 10, 2021, which focused primarily on unvaccinated workers. This new OSHA guidance discusses vaccinated workers and is intended to address updated recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the wake of the Delta variant.
OSHA’s new COVID-19 guidance is intended to assist employers and workers in “areas of substantial or high community transmission,” as identified by the CDC. In line with the CDC, OSHA recommends the following new guidance for fully vaccinated workers:
- wearing a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission;
- choosing to wear a mask regardless of level of transmission, particularly if individuals are at risk or have someone in their household who is at increased risk of severe disease or not fully vaccinated; and
- getting tested 3-5 days following a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and wearing a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days after exposure or until a negative test result.
Additionally, OSHA recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors in K-12 schools, regardless of vaccine status.
As Chilivis Grubman previously reported, OSHA released a COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for employers in healthcare settings. If the ETS applies to an employer, compliance was required by July 6, 2021. It’s important to note that, unlike the ETS, OSHA’s latest COVID-19 guidance is merely advisory and compliance is not mandatory. However, employers are recommended to follow OSHA’s COVID-19 guidance as much as possible.
The attorneys at Chilivis Grubman represent clients of all types and sizes with compliance with federal regulatory guidelines on COVID-19, including employers in the healthcare industry. If you are an employer in need assistance, please contact us today.