The following information should help clarify many of the questions that are being raised as a result of the ETS issued yesterday. MITA affiliate ARTBA was able to ascertain this information from federal OSHA. MITA will remain in contact with MIOSHA and provide any information that may further clarify the ETS from a state perspective. Please remember that this information only pertains to employers with 100 or more employees and currently is in the process of adoption by MIOSHA.
Assure their employees are either fully vaccinated by Jan. 4, 2022, or taking a weekly COVID-19 test and wearing masks when in the workplace;
•Remove employees who test positive from the workplace;
•Provide paid time off for employees to get vaccinated and, if necessary, sick leave to recover from any vaccination side effects;
•Develop a written workplace COVID-19 vaccination policy;
•Determine the vaccination status of all employees and maintain an employee vaccination status roster while the ETS remains in effect;
•Provide employees with information about the ETS and vaccines;
•Report any work-related COVID-19 deaths within eight hours and work-related COVID-19 hospitalizations within 24 hours to OSHA; and
•Other than the January vaccination deadline, all other requirements of the ETS must be fulfilled by Dec. 5.
The ETS does not require employers to pay for the cost of testing unvaccinated employees, and also notes that vaccines are generally provided free of charge nationwide.
The following ETS provisions are particularly relevant to transportation construction employers:
• Employees working “exclusively” outdoors are exempt from the ETS. While OSHA cites certain construction disciplines as examples, its commentary suggests that only a small percentage of those employees will be considered exempt. To qualify for the exemption, the employee must spend only “de minimus” or “brief” time indoors during the workday, such as visiting a trailer or restroom and may not travel in vehicles with work colleagues.
• Generally, workers on a multi-employer construction worksite are not considered together. Each company is only responsible for its own employees. A smaller contractor or supplier employing less than 100 persons would be fully exempt from the ETS, even though they have employees working on a larger site with those of other firms.
• On the other hand, a contractor who employs 100 or more people, yet had them spread out over multiple sites in smaller numbers, is still covered by the ETS.
• ARTBA raised these and other issues with Biden administration officials in a series of letters and meetings while it was formulating the ETS.
OSHA’s ETS announcement also includes revisions and clarifications for a separate executive order previously announced by the White House, which will mandate vaccinations for employees of all firms doing direct business with the federal government:
• New and revised direct federal contracts will postpone the employee vaccination requirement to Jan. 4, 2022, aligning it with the ETS vaccination deadline.
• Direct federal contractors will be covered by this executive order mandating vaccines, but not the OSHA ETS.