OSHA’s standards are intended to guide businesses with more than 100 employees on implementing the vaccine or testing mandate. One of the critical points of the criteria is the deadlines they set for employers. The clock is ticking.
Starting December 5, companies covered under the mandate must ask their unvaccinated employees to wear masks indoors. Anyone who remains unvaccinated by January 4, 2022, must submit to weekly testing at their workplace.
January may seem like it is a long time away, but the December 5 deadline means that HR teams need to know who is vaccinated and who still needs to catch up within days. They also need to start making plans for those employees who choose not to be vaccinated and anyone who is granted an exception for medical reasons.
For this reason alone, employers and HR teams must act now to be ready for the December deadline.
As soon as the ETS protocol was published, is has created discussions in court. The Fifth Circuit Court stayed their implementation, and other regional courts followed suit. To date, several dozen lawsuits filed by businesses and federal states challenge the standards. Most argue that OSHA is overreaching.
A few days ago, a federal judicial panel assigned the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati to deal with the lawsuits.
The injunction on the standards may be overturned, deadlines may be extended, or the criteria could be ruled unlawful entirely. The essential aspect employers covered by the mandate need to understand is that the December 5 deadline still stands.
OSHA has reduced pressure on employers and suspended its power to implement the vaccine mandate until the courts publicize their ruling. However, the organization remains confident that the ETS will stay in place, citing its intention to protect workers in emergencies.
That means there is no time to be lost. If the vaccine mandate covers your business, you need to act now to avoid being caught out if the standards remain in place.
Complying with the deadlines could take significant employers’ weeks if the standards remain in place. However, it is worth considering where employers need to start in their preparations.
The first thing your organization needs to confirm is the number of vaccinated people. Depending on the size of your business and your workforce, this could be a mammoth task. After all, if you have employees working from different locations and following different shift patterns, it’s not possible to stick your head into their office door and ask.
It is where tools like the vaccination verification platform from TrueCare™ come into their own. Rather than spending weeks chasing after individual employees, organizations need to set up an internal vaccination verification protocol.
By implementing the new solution, it is a matter of a few hours.
As an HR professional or operational manager, you have access to all the details you need from one handy dashboard. Individual employees download the TrueCare™ app on their phones and then upload proof of vaccination. You can easily verify the authenticity of the documents and change the employee’s status in your dashboard.
It is easy to break down your entire workforce by location, and you can see who is exempt from the requirements because they are working remotely.
Most importantly, the vaccination verification makes it easy to see which individuals and teams are not yet fully vaccinated. Armed with this information, HR professionals or managers can check in with unvaccinated staff and reconfirm the mask mandate.
Under the Biden administration’s mandate, private employees can become vaccinated or submit to weekly testing. The implementation deadline for testing is January 4, 2022. It may seem a long way away, but it is becoming influential in only a few weeks.
Many businesses will scale down for the holiday season between now and the deadline, potentially leaving your organization with fewer HR staff. Relying on the courts to overturn the ETS is a high-risk strategy that may not suit many businesses. It may simply leave your organization in a tight spot when OSHA does start to enforce the rules. You may be facing significant fines, and after almost two years of pandemic-related disruption, very few businesses can afford that.
Vaccination verification is a crucial step to prevent your business from being caught unawares or unprepared when the courts decide.
Remember, the goal of the mandate is to make American workplaces safer. The new regulation benefits everyone – employees and their families, friends, and loved ones. The mandate is expected to cover 84 million workers, of which more than 30 million remain unvaccinated.
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.