New Workplace Guidance From Government Eases Protocols
Many states have released new workplace guidance protocols that eased mask requirements for those who are vaccinated after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised that fully vaccinated people could go without masks in most indoor and outdoor settings.
Most states have moved closer to lifting all restrictions on businesses and gatherings as the vaccination campaign has progressed. A full reopening still comes with rules in many places. Some states continue to require the use of masks for unvaccinated people, and some governors are still mandating businesses observe social distancing rules, even as they lift capacity limits. In California, Santa Clara County requires employers to track and report vaccination status for everyone entering workplaces
With a frequently changing, nation-wide patchwork of regulations, how do businesses stay in compliance while providing employees and visitors a safe environment? Easiest solution would to be outsource that burden to affordable digital screening solutions such as Safe Site Check In that reduce burden, costs and overhead. Check it out at safesitecheckin.com.
Here’s a summary of latest workplace guidance from major government agencies for employers:
Masks and social distancing are still recommended for unvaccinated people and healthcare workers, workers in senior care facilities, etc.
Recommends safety and hygiene practices from the pandemic in workplaces
As of June 10, OSHA’s temporary protection standard protects healthcare workers who are at the highest risk of exposure to COVID-19.
For other businesses, including construction, the agency will allow them to continue best practices designed specifically for their industries.
Federal EEO laws do not prevent an employer from requiring all employees physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated for COVID-19. To do this, employers must remain compliant with the reasonable accommodation provisions of the ADA and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects against employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin, as well as other EEO considerations.
Federal EEO laws do not prevent or limit employers from offering incentives to employees to voluntarily provide documentation or other confirmation of vaccination. This applies to information obtained from a third party (not the employer) in the community, such as a pharmacy, personal healthcare provider or public clinic. Employers requesting this information must keep it confidential under the terms of ADA.
Employers who are administering vaccines to their employees may offer incentives for employees to be vaccinated, as long as the incentives are not coercive.
Employers may provide employees and their family members with information to educate them about COVID-19 vaccines and raise awareness about the benefits of vaccination.
Vaccinations and documentation: the amended emergency temporary standard (ETS) allows different precautions for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, starting as soon as it goes into effect, and becoming even more significant after July 31. However, there remain questions on how employers should document their workers vaccination status feasibly while respecting those employees’ privacy. Cal/OSHA has promised clarification on this point via FAQs.
Businesses will not see changing obligations for their workers on June 15. The amended ETS will go into effect just before June 15, but masking and social distancing requirements will remain in effect for most workers until July 31.
N95’s will need to be provided for unvaccinated employees: After July 31, employers will need to make available for voluntary use N95 respirators for each unvaccinated employee, and those N95s will need to be the proper size. That means employers will need to have N95 respirators on hand if they have any unvaccinated, indoor employees after July 31.
New verbal notice requirements: For employers dealing with employees who may have “limited literacy,” the amended ETS includes some vague obligations to provide verbal notice of outbreaks, which will likely affect certain industries more than others.
Outbreaks will be triggered only among employees only, meaning customers massing through the workplace will not trigger outbreak protocols.
After July 31, social distancing requirements in the workplace will end for all workplaces.
Outdoor and vaccinated workers will see loosening once employers have documentation of vaccination.
Littler published a great collection of latest resources and information across all states and many local jurisdictions.