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Roadmap for HR to get ready for OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination Emergency Temporary Standard

Nearly two months after President Joe Biden announced a far-reaching federal vaccine mandate. In September, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) started drafting temporary emergency standards (ETS) for the assignment. While some companies are already ahead of the new requirements, others are holding out. If your business is among the latter, it is time to start preparing now.

Which Businesses Are Covered by The Mandate?

The federal vaccine mandate applies to any private business with 100 employees or more. Those companies must ensure their teams are either fully vaccinated or agree to COVID-19 testing at least once a week.

Public health experts estimate that the rules will cover approximately 100 million Americans.

Apart from private companies, the mandate also covers employees and contractors of federal agencies. While employees working for the private sector can choose between vaccination and testing, those in the public sector will not have an option. Complete vaccination will be a requirement to continue working for the government – even as a contractor.

When do Businesses need to Comply?

The OSHA’s standards release is expected within days. Experts expect them to contain deadlines by which both government agencies and private companies need to comply.

While it may seem that your business will have plenty of time to get ready to comply, now is an excellent time to get prepared. The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) has already clarified that employers are within their rights to require vaccines. Employers need to accommodate religious beliefs and disabilities within reason.

Several companies have questioned the Labor Department about the forthcoming provisions, while others are considering legal action. Challenges to the ETS are likely to come after the rules go into effect and assessing them will take time. As a result, employers and HR teams should prepare now.

Companies like Procter & Gamble, Alaska Airlines, IBM, and 3M have moved ahead of government requirements by instating their mandates. Following their example and preparing now will help your organization avoid delays and potential penalties. 

What Do Businesses Need to Do Now?

American businesses can follow three easy steps to meet the new OSHA announcement:

  1. Assess Vaccination Status

HR professionals need to understand who is vaccinated and who is in the process of becoming vaccinated.

This step involves gathering sensitive personal medical information. The information must be kept safe and secure. One of the best options available is to use solutions like the vaccination verification platform from TrueCare™.

The platform allows your team to submit vaccination certificates. HR professionals can verify them and conveniently and monitor the vaccination status of their employees. This feature is handy if your team works across different locations.

The software allows you to quickly assess which locations are compliant and where you need to offer further assistance. The vaccination verification platform also allows you to see who has opted for testing instead, and you can track test results.

  1. Confirm Company Policy and Solutions for Compliance

While the regulations will need to comply with OSHA standards, each company has different requirements. Realistically, the OSHA rules will be flexible, allowing HR professionals to make the standards work for your organization.

Drafting a company policy for compliance is necessary for those unvaccinated employees. For those, your vaccination policy needs to offer solutions for vaccination. Perhaps you can provide on-site vaccinations? Alternatively, your company may need to make allowances for time off if employees need to be vaccinated off-site. Plus, it would help if you considered how to offer regular testing.

Once again, the software can help automate this process for you. It frees up HR professionals’ time for more critical tasks.

  1. Keep Employees Informed

Keeping employees informed through constant communication is essential to build and retain trust. Especially if your workforce has been hesitant to take up the vaccine or if several team members have medical reasons to choose to test, it’s vital to be transparent about the process.

Using vaccination tracking and testing platforms helps free up your time for these tasks that require a personal approach.

It is not too late to get ahead of the vaccine mandate and prepare your organization so you can hit the ground running when the regulations are announced. Being proactive with company policies and internal communications will help keep the entire team engaged and build trust across the organization. After all, federal agencies, HR teams, company leaders, and employees are all working towards one goal – to create a safer workplace.

Verify the vaccination status of the people in your organization and record any specific exemptions!

 

About TrueCare™ 

TrueCare™ is a nationwide Health & Wellness platform for families and businesses providing end-to-end solutions for COVID-19 testing, screening, vaccination, home care, and corporate well-being services.

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