On August 13, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) updated its guidance for all employers to reflect the CDC’s July 27, 2021 recommendations on masks and testing for fully-vaccinated individuals. As with the prior guidance on COVID-19, this updated OSHA guidance is not a standard or regulation and creates no new legal obligations. However, the guidance is likely to be relied on to measure employer compliance with OSHA’s “General Duty Clause.” That clause requires employers to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards that cause or are likely to cause death or serious harm.
To reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 among employees, especially the Delta variant, OSHA recommends that employers:
- Require all employees, including those who are fully vaccinated, to wear a face covering, or other appropriate PPE, when indoors with other people in areas of substantial or high transmission.
- Encourage or require all customers, visitors, and guests to wear face coverings when indoors in areas of substantial or high transmission.
- Adopt policies that require employees to get vaccinated or, if they remain unvaccinated, get regularly tested for COVID-19 plus continue wearing a face covering and physical distancing.
- Require fully vaccinated employees who have been exposed to COVID-19 to be tested three to five days after exposure and wear a face mask when indoors for 14 days unless they test negative.
The above precautions are in addition to measures included in OSHA’s previous guidance. See Lake Effect’s blog on OSHA’s guidance for employers.
Employers should work closely with legal counsel and HR to implement an updated COVID-19 workplace program consistent with this new OSHA guidance and any applicable local guidance and orders. Lake Effect is here to help you through this process.
We continue to monitor important legal and HR developments, as well as COVID-related updates from federal, state, and local authorities. Please keep watching our blogs and emails for these important updates, as well as discussions of how compliance meets culture. To dive into these issues, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-844-333-5253.