OSHA unveils new COVID-19 emergency temporary standard

By |  November 5, 2021


The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) issued a new emergency temporary standard to phase in COVID-19 vaccine mandates for companies with 100 or more employees.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employers with at least 100 employees will be required to adopt a mandatory vaccination policy unless they adopt a policy requiring unvaccinated workers to undergo weekly testing and wear a face covering at work. Employers with 100 or more employees must also provide paid time for workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine and ensure workers have paid sick leave to recover from any side effects that prevent them from working.

The Labor Department says employers must comply with most provisions by 30 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register, which is scheduled for Nov. 5. Employers must also comply with the testing requirement by 60 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register.

Businesses that don’t comply may face significant OSHA fines, the Labor Department says.

Industry reaction

Michele Stanley, vice president of government and regulatory affairs at the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA), reacted to the new emergency temporary standard with a statement written on behalf of her organization.

“The aggregates industry, since being deemed essential by the federal government during the pandemic, has aggressively worked to address COVID-19 in the workplace,” Stanley says. “NSSGA strongly supports the overall goal of vaccinating Americans against COVID-19 and have launched a national vaccination campaign in concert with our member companies. Our member companies have also taken action to encourage vaccinations, including providing time off to get the shot; giving additional vacation days; and offering cash rewards and other incentives, valued in the thousands of dollars, to employees and their family members who get vaccinated.

“However, NSSGA is opposed to today’s actions by the Department of Labor to issue a hasty rule that unfairly shifts the burden of requiring vaccinations on employers,” she adds. “Without addressing legitimate industry concerns through a proper rulemaking, we believe the vaccine mandate will stress an already strained workforce, making it difficult for operators to produce the essential building materials that our country desperately needs.”

The Labor Department says those who wish to share comments, feedback or information on OSHA’s new emergency temporary standard can do so at regulations.gov.

Avatar photo

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or kyanik@northcoastmedia.net.

Comments are closed