By Conn Maciel Carey’s COVID-19 Task Force
On June 10th, Fed OSHA revealed its much anticipated (or dreaded) COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standard, but rather than a rule applicable to all industries, OSHA issued a regulation narrowly tailored only to certain healthcare settings.
So what does that mean for all other employers? For everyone else, federal OSHA simultaneously published significant updates (mostly improvements) to its principal workplace COVID-19 guidance – Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace. This was an update to the original version that issued on January 29, 2021 in response to Pres. Biden’s Day 1 OSHA Executive Order, and the first time it has been updated since the COVID-19 vaccines became widely available.
OSHA announced that the updated guidance is intended to help employers protect non-vaccinated workers in non-healthcare settings (i.e., industries not covered by the new ETS), with a special emphasis on other industries noted for prolonged close-contacts among workers, such as meat processing, manufacturing, seafood, and grocery and high-volume retail workplaces. The guidance also states that it applies to otherwise at-risk workers; i.e., those with conditions that may affect the workers’ ability to have a full immune response to vaccination.
OSHA categorizes the updates to the guidance into three buckets:
- focus protections on unvaccinated and otherwise at-risk workers;
- encourage COVID-19 vaccination; and
- link to guidance with the most up-to-date content.
At its core, though, OSHA’s new guidance was updated to Continue reading