OSHA 2021

HR Vaccine Compliance Guide

November 10, 2021

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued its emergency temporary standard requiring businesses with at least 100 employees to mandate that their employees get vaccinated against the coronavirus or wear a mask while at work and test for COVID on a weekly basis. Understanding the requirements to comply with the ETS and navigating the complexities of intersecting agency requirements is a difficult task. We are here to help.

While not all of our clients are required to participate based upon the mandate parameters, we have had many inquiries for resources and support. As your Trusted Advisors, our team at Robertson Ryan is here to help. We are emailing our business clients so they can make the choice to review the materials, or to share with their networks. Our common goal is for all our clients and networks to have all the information, tools and resources to be compliant. We recognize this is a fluid situation, and wish to remain a valuable resource to you and your networks along the way.

On November 4, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) announced its much anticipated Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) regarding COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing. An official version of the standard was published in the Federal Register on November 5, 2021. This alert is meant to provide a useful summary of the timelines and requirements of the standard and the anticipated legal challenges it currently faces or will face. At least for the time being, the ETS is effective for a period of 6 months from publication–the OSH Act treats the enactment of such temporary standards as a call to finalize a permanent rule within six months.

Key Deadlines Include:

• December 5, 2021: Employers must: (1) collect each employee’s vaccination status; (2) require unvaccinated employees to wear masks (3) educate employees on and promote the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine; and (4) require employees who are COVID-19 positive to quarantine and set protocols for dealing with the same.  (Note: these actions should begin as soon as possible, if not already in place).

• January 4, 2022: Employers must begin testing unvaccinated employees weekly. Note that employers are not required to pay for testing [1].

OSHA has stated, the purpose of the ETS is to “establish minimum vaccination, vaccination verification, face covering, quarantine, and testing requirements to address the grave danger of COVID-19 in the workplace.” Further, the ETS is intended to preempt any state or local requirement that bans or limits an employer’s authority to require vaccinations, face coverings, or testing. The preamble specifically states that “to avoid ambiguity, OSHA has stated expressly that it intends this ETS to preempt all state and local workplace requirements that ‘relate’ to these issues, except pursuant to a State [OSHA] Plan.” The standard requires all unvaccinated employees to begin wearing masks by Dec. 5tt and provide a negative COVID-19 test result weekly beginning January 4, 2022.

[1] Payment for testing may be required under some state laws and if testing is provided as an accommodation for a disability which makes an employee unable to be vaccinated.

Will this ETS Be Challenged? 

Yes. Several lawsuits have already been filed challenging the ETS and requesting that the courts enjoin it.  More will likely follow. However, given the fairly tight timeline provided to implement the ETS requirements, and the uncertainty of how any litigation will play out, it is prudent to begin compliance preparations immediately.

To help reduce confusion and provide employers with the tools to adopt the required policies, properly train managers and supervisors, and make the right vaccination plan decisions for their business, Best Workplace Solutions has developed an HR Vaccine Compliance Guide. This extensive guide provides best practices and valuable tools to guide HR Departments, Directors, Managers, Supervisors, EHS Directors and Labor Relations professionals in their decision-making process, helping assure that organizational practices remain consistent with compliance requirements. Included in this offering are:

  • • An extensive Frequently Asked Questions guide covering topics for HR professionals, Managers and Supervisors, Cultural Considerations, Safety & Health and labor relations, professionals
  • • Sample policies
    • • Vaccination Policy – Mandatory
    • • Vaccination Policy – Alternative Compliance
  • • Sample forms
    • • Employment Application Questions Covering Vaccination Status
    • • Vaccination Status Disclosure Form
    • • Religious & Medical Accommodation Request
    • • Communications to Employees on New Policies
  • • Flowcharts detailing accurate response to internal exposures including Contract Tracing Methodologies and Processes
  • • Compliance Tracking Spreadsheet
  • • Employee survey on the OSHA vaccine mandate
  • • On-Site Testing Resource Referrals Available

Short Video Overview, Compliance Guide Subscription & Webinar Details:


To sign up for this offering, visit: Robertson Ryan and Associates Vaccine Compliance Guide (bestlcms.com). Please reach out to your Robertson Ryan team member for a discount code to use at the time of purchase.

If you have any questions regarding this package, please contact Kurt Meyer, Managing Consultant, or Colleen Liace, Organization and eLearning Consultant, from Best Workplace Solutions.

Our team at Robertson Ryan continues to appreciate your continued trust and partnership. Please let us know if you have any questions or need additional resources.