NUCA Provides Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccinations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released on Nov. 5 its Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for mandatory COVID-19 vaccination and testing. The 154-page interim final rule is effective immediately, but gives covered employers until Jan. 4, 2022, to ensure their employees have received the necessary vaccines to be considered fully vaccinated.

OSHA has created a website to answer questions employers will have about the requirements under the ETS, summary information about which employers and employees are covered by this OSHA directive, and compliance timelines. NUCA urges each of its members to go to this website, read the information, and discuss it with your company executives, safety, and human resources staff. The U.S. Department of Labor has also made available a 28-minute webinar (link below) on this ETS and its requirements.

NUCA remains committed to providing to all of our members the latest information about government regulations affecting their workplace. NUCA strongly encourages you to learn as much about these new OSHA regulations via the links below and to rely upon NUCA to deliver you the latest news about how these rules may affect your utility construction business.

OSHA Website: COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing ETS Information

OSHA Rule Summary: Summary of ETS for Vaccination and Testing

USDOL Webinar: ETS for Vaccination and Testing (28 min.)

 

Summary:

  • The ETS affects all private employers with 100 or more employees in the firm or corporation.
  • The requirements of the ETS do NOT apply to 1) employees who do not report to a workplace where other individuals are present, 2) employees while working from home, and 3) employees who work exclusively outdoors.
  • Employers are required to develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, with an exception to allow employees to either get vaccinated or to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering in the workplace.
  • Some employees may be entitled to reasonable accommodation from their employer, absent undue hardship, due to a medical condition or sincerely held religious belief.
  • Employers must maintain a roster of each employee’s vaccination status and preserve proof of vaccination.
  • Provide employees up to four hours of paid leave to receive each dose, and recover from side effects.
  • Enforcement of the ETS begins Jan. 5, 2022.
  • Significant fines can be assessed by OSHA per violation.

More compliance details about the ETS can be found on OSHA’s Frequently Asked Questions webpage.

Over the next two months, NUCA members will read and hear much about this mandate. NUCA created an informational webpage for members to use to stay up-to-date on regulations, compliance, interpretations, news, court actions, and other information about OSHA’s ETS. NUCA’s “Vaccine Mandate” webpage contains these government resources and other information briefs to help members understand OSHA’s ETS and its effect upon our member’s businesses and their employees.

NUCA’s government affairs department will be involved in this OSHA rulemaking as it proceeds to its final stages. NUCA’s Construction Industry Safety Coalition partners and NUCA will be submitting an official comment letter to the agency by Dec. 5, which will be posted at NUCA.com.

NUCA continues to encourage utility construction industry employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine and affirms our industry’s long-standing commitment to creating safe work environments for everyone.

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