As the Coronavirus variant Omicron continues to spread, health and safety policies in the workplace are once again a pressing concern. New mandates for COVID-19 vaccine and testing for workplace safety continue to be established and then opposed in a back and forth manner.
As an employer, what do you need to know? While the legislation continues to change, there are measures you can take to ensure your workplace is prioritizing its employees’ safety and health.
Recent COVID Vaccine and Testing Mandate Updates
On Nov. 5, 2021, OSHA established an ETS, or emergency temporary standard, that required all employers with over 100 employees to ensure that all employees are vaccinated against COVID-19, or submit to a weekly COVID-19 test. The ETS was quickly challenged by employers and employees which caused the ETS to be stayed. These back and forth rulings and appeals continued.
Most recently, on Jan. 13, 2021, the Supreme Court blocked the COVID-19 testing mandate for employers with 100 or more employees. However, in a 5-4 opinion the SCOTUS allowed the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services vaccine mandate for health care workers to go into effect.
In response to this ruling, OSHA is withdrawing the emergency temporary standard as an enforceable standard as of Jan. 26, 2022, but OSHA continues to strongly encourage the COVID vaccination for all employees.
COVID-19 Testing and Vaccine Mandate Impact on Workplaces
With this flux of mandates and rulings over the past few months especially, what can employers do to be prepared? Everything is changing so quickly, so employers don’t know how to prepare, regardless of what the law says.
Most employees aren’t even aware of what mandates and standards are in place right now. AssuredPartners Cornerstone always prioritizes helping employers keep their employees educated on subjects beneficial to their health.
Keep in mind, OSHA could continue to issue citations under the General Duty Clause if they feel employees’ working conditions are unsafe resulting in an unchecked spread of COVID in their workplace. As an employer, you have a key role in helping prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19 by implementing safety protocols to help keep your employees healthy.
Employer Health and Safety Responsibilities
The vast majority of employers have already implemented COVID precautions including social distancing, mandatory mask-wearing procedures and work-from-home provisions which are still considered best practices at this time. We encourage you to work with your employees for feedback on any potential policy changes to seek their input to protect their health.
How AssuredPartners Cornerstone Can Help
Employers are doing their best to make decisions that are difficult. But, that’s where we are here to help. AssuredPartners Cornerstone can help employers determine what to say, what mandates to have in place to help employees understand employers need to be flexible.
We can provide you with policy templates and fact sheets if you wish to explore customized mandates or protocols for your employees. AssuredPartners Cornerstone focuses on helping employers establish wellness plans which include helping you establish a plan to effectively communicate important COVID-19 information.
Do you need assistance in establishing a clear plan to communicate and execute COVID-19 Omicron prevention methods for your workplace? Contact AssuredPartners Cornerstone today.
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