OSHA COVID-19 ETS Gudiance for Idaho, Utah and Wyoming Employers with More than 100 Employees
This page provides specific guidance for employers in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming with more than 100 employees who may be subject to the OSHA COVID-19 ETS. Sterling Urgent Care has compiled this information to assist employers who may be impacted by the OSHA ETS so that they can prepare for compliance. Visit our OSHA COVID-19 ETS Page for Idaho, Utah and Wyoming for an overview of the new rules.
New deadlines require every employer with more than 100 employees to begin implementing all aspects of the ETS except testing by January 10, 2022, and to implement the testing requirement by February 9, 2022. OSHA has publicly stated that it will not take enforcement action against any employer who makes “a good faith effort” to comply with the ETS.
We expect the stricter rules of the new ETS to apply to all eligible Idaho, Wyoming and Utah employers, even where state guidance may differ.
Employer Responsibilities Under the OSHA COVID-19 ETS
What are the compliance deadlines for the OSHA ETS?
All aspects of the OSHA ETS except testing must be implemented by January 10, 2022. Testing must be implemented by February 9, 2022.
In a statement in December 2021, OSHA said it would not aggressively enforce these deadlines “so long as an employer is exercising reasonable, good faith efforts to come into compliance.” “Good faith efforts” will likely be defined as the development and implementation of a written COVID-19 vaccination and testing plan and reporting protocols, as well as collection of employee data.
What Are Employers Required to Do Under the OSHA ETS?
For every non-exempt employee, employers are required to do the following (detailed information on these requirements are in the following accordion sections):
- Establish and commmunicate a written COVID-19 policy that complies with the vaccination, face covering and testing, record-keeping and reporting requirements established under the ETS.
- Communicate the policy in language that can be understood by all employees, including multilingual communication when needed.
- Provide information to all employees on the safety and benefits of vaccination provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
- Require vaccination of all nonexempt employees with a first dose no later than January 4, 2022.
- Provide up to 4 hours of paid time, including travel time, to employees so that they can receive vaccinations.
- Provide reasonable paid sick time for employees who suffer side effects after vaccination.
- Require that all nonexempt, unvaccinated and partially vaccinated employees wear face coverings and submit to COVID-19 testing at least once every 7 days when they are in the workplace and as a condition of returning to work after 7 or more days away from the workplace.
- Require proof of vaccination for all nonexempt employees beginning December 5, 2021.
- Maintain individual records of vaccination for all employees in a HIPAA-compliant format.
- Maintain an anonymized list of the total number of employees and the total number of vaccinated employees, as well as a percentage of employees who are vaccinated.
- Furnish anonymized records on the percentage of vaccinated employees to OSHA officials, employees or designated employee representatives within 24 hours of a request.
- Furnish individual information on employee vaccination status and possible workplace exposures to an individual employee or a representative authorized in writing within 24 hours of a request.
- Immediately remove any employee who receives a positive COVID-19 test from the workplace.
- Prevent any employee who received a positive COVID-19 test from returning to the workplace until they meet Return to Work criteria from the CDC.
- Report any hospitalization of a worker who contracted COVID-19 in a workplace setting within 24 hours of the hospitalization.
- Report any death of a nonhospitalized worker who contracted COVID-19 in a workplace setting within 8 hours of notification of that death.
What Are the Written Policy Requirements Under the OSHA ETS?
All employers with more than 100 employees must develop a written COVID-19 policy for their employees. This policy must include the following:
- Clear descriptions of which employees are covered by the mandate, and those who are exempt
- A vaccine mandate for nonexempt employees
- A face covering mandate for nonexempt unvaccinated employees
- A testing mandate and schedule for nonexempt unvaccinated employees
- Mask and testing mandates for partially vaccinated employees
- Paid leave and sick leave provisions for employees who need to be vaccinated
- A mandate to report vaccination status and provide supporting documentation or a sworn attestation of that status
- The proceudres for reporting test results to managers
- Protocols for removing employees from the workplace if they test positive
- Protocols for returning to work after a positive test
- Penalties for failure to comply with vaccine mandates or face covering and testing mandates for nonexempt unvaccinated employees
- How to access information on the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines from the Centers for Disease Control
- The employee’s rights to access records regarding personal workplace exposure
- The employee’s rights to access records on vaccination rates within the workplace
This information must be written and must be presented to employees in terms they can understand, as well as in language in which employees are fluent. An employer with a significant number of non-English-speaking workers must make available written policies in as many languages as required to ensure comprehension.
OSHA may request a copy of this written policy at any time, and employers should be prepared to furnish it within 24 hours.
Employees do not need to receive written copies of the policy, and the OSHA ETS does not provide specific guidance on how it should be communicated. Employers have the flexibility to determine the best way to share the rules and responsibilities under the ETS, which may include handbooks, email, websites or in-person discussions.
Employers are required to inform all employees of these rules and to ensure that they are understood. Simply emailing a link to employees and asking them to visit it would not comply with the ETS, while sitting with groups of employees and explaining the policies would comply.
What do employers need to do to help employees get vaccinated?
Employers must mandate vaccination for all nonexempt employees and provide the following support:
- This document from the Centers for Disease Control discussing the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines
- At least 4 hours paid time off, including travel time, at the regular pay rate for employees to travel to a vaccination site and receive a shot, per shot needed for vaccination
- A reasonable amount of compensated sick time for employees to deal with any side effects from vaccination
Under the OSHA ETS guidance, compensated time off is in addition to paid sick, leave or vacation time employees already have. Employers cannot require their employees to give up a sick day or a vacation day to get vaccinated or to recover from side effects.
Large employers may find that on-site vaccination clinics are the most efficient and cost-effective way to meet the vaccine mandate. Sterling Urgent Care offers on-site COVID-19 vaccine clinics in Idaho, Wyoming and Utah. Please reach out to us to learn more.
When Must Employees Be Vaccinated?
All nonexempt employees must begin the vaccination process by January 4, 2022. A first dose of a two-dose vaccine or a dose of a single-shot vaccine received before the end of the day on January 3, 2022, will comply with these regulations, but the employee will not be considered vaccinated until
- Two weeks have passed since a single-dose vaccine was administered
- Two weeks have passed since the second dose of a two-dose vaccine was administered
Employees who have received a dose of vaccine but are not considered vaccinated must wear face coverings and receive regular testing until the guidelines for vaccination have been met.
Do employers need to pay for vaccination?
Vaccination should be covered under existing employee health insurance plans. Uninsured employees can be directed to state agencies that will provide free vaccination.
COVID-19 vaccines are free for all eligible people in the United States, regardless of their immigration status or insurance coverage.
Employers who choose to hold on-site vaccination clinics may need to pay expenses associated with those clinics.
Do employers need to pay for face coverings?
Employers are not required to pay for face coverings for employees, customers, contractors or any other individuals who enter a shared workplace, unless they are subject to personal protective equipment rules that apply in healthcare settings or rules that pertain to respirators and facemasks in some workplaces.
Do employers need to pay for testing?
Employers do not need to pay for employee testing. Required testing can be entirely at employee expense, but this must be detailed in the employer’s written COVID-19 plan.
A Sterling Urgent Care Membership can help employees manage the costs of COVID-19 testing. Members get unlimited free office visits and tests cost $35 each.
What vaccination information do employers need to collect?
Employers must note the vaccination status of all employees, including those who are exempt from vaccination requirements. Two sets of records need to be kept:
- A record of every employee, by name, their vaccination status and proof of that status
- An anonymized list of the total number of employees and the number who are vaccinated
All records pertaining to employee health are subject to rules set out in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Records should be kept in a secure location, which can be online, offline or a combination of the two, and can only be shared under certain circumstances.
How can employers verify vaccination status?
The following can be used to prove that an emnployee is vaccinated:
- A record of vaccination from a pharmacy or healthcare provider
- A COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card
- A copy of medical records documenting vaccination
- A copy of immunization records from a public health, state or tribal immunization information system
- Any other official documentation that shows the type of vaccine administered, the date(s) it was received and the name of the clinic site or healthcare professional who administered the vaccine
- A signed and date employee attestation of vaccination, only if the employee is unable to provide any other acceptable proof of vaccination
Who can access vaccination and testing records?
Employees or legal representatives authorized in writing may access their own records of vaccination, testing and workplace exposure. These records must be made available within 24 hours of a request.
Employees or their designated representatives may access anonymized data on the number of employees and the number who are vaccinated. These records must be made available within 24 hours of a request.
OSHA officials and their designated representatives can access both individual records and anonymized group records upon request. These records must be available within 24 hours of a request.
What testing information do employers need to collect?
Employers must maintain a full accounting of all employee tests and test results for the duration of the OSHA ETS. Employers should be prepared to keep these records indefinitely, and they must be stored securely to comply with rules established by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Test dates and results should be stored for all nonexempt unvaccinated employees. Employees are not considered vaccinated until two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) or two weeks after a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Regular testing is required between the initial vaccination and vaccinated status. Employers should note the dates of vaccination and the vaccine given (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson.
What Is the Testing Schedule for Partially Vaccinated Employees?
- Moderna: 6 weeks of testing; 4 weeks between shots and 2 weeks after the second shot
- Pfizer-BioNTech: 5 weeks of testing; 3 weeks between shots and 2 weeks after the second shot
- Johnson & Johnson: 2 weeks of testing after the first shot
What Must Employers Do When an Employee Tests Positive?
If an individual employee tests positive or reports a positive test or diagnosis, that employee must be removed from the workplace immediately.
If a pool test shows a positive result, employees may stay at the worksite until individual testing is complete. Any employee who receives a positive test must be removed immediately.
Any employee who submits a positive test after 7 or more days away from the workplace may not return to the workplace.
Employees who test positive must receive a recommendation to return to work from a licensed healthcare provider or meet Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Return to Work Criteria before they can return to a worksite:
- At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared
- No fever for 24 hours without using a fever reducer
- Other COVID-19 symptoms are improving, excluding the loss of taste and smell
Your employer is not required to provide paid sick leave while you are isolating with COVID-19. You may be allowed to use accured sick days or paid time off while you recover, depending on the laws in the state where you work.
Do Employers Need to Provide Paid Sick Leave After a COVID-19 Diagnosis?
There is no requirement to provide paid sick leave in the OSHA ETS, but state rules may differ. In Idaho, Utah and Wyoming, employers will be expected to follow any state rules that apply to paid time off for workers who contract COVID-19.
Employers may not prevent workers from using accrued sick time or vacation time while they isolate at home.
Employer Rules for Reporting Hospitalizations and Deaths
What Are Employers Required to Report?
Employers must report any hospitalization that follows a workplace COVID-19 exposure within 24 hours of the hospitalization.
Employers must report the death of any employee following a workplace COVID-19 exposure within 8 hours of notification. Employers do not need to report a death if the employee died in a hospital and the employer previously reported the hospitalization to OSHA.
Note that rules under the OSHA ETS are somewhat vague with regard to reporting deaths. In some cases, the cause of death will not be determined within 8 hours of an employee’s passing. The rules can be interpreted to mean that the 8-hour clock begins when the employer learns that an employee has died from COVID-19. This puts the burden on the employer to closely monitor any findings of cause of death for an employee who passes away, regardless of whether there is a known COVID-19 infection or workplace COVID-19 exposure.
What Qualifies as a Workplace COVID-19 Exposure?
OSHA has adopted a “good faith” standard for determining the source of an exposure. Employers should assume that any positive test, hospitalization or death of an employee will be investigated as a workplace exposure unless there is clear and convicing evidence that the exposure happened outside the workplace.
If employees travel together to work, spend time together before or after work hours during their commutes or live together when they are not at work, employers should consider any exposure a potential workplace exposure and report any hospitalization or death.
How Should Hospitalizations and Deaths Be Reported?
Any hospitalization or death of an employee following a workplace COVID-19 exposure must be reported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in one of the following 3 ways:
- Calling the OSHA area office closest to the site of the exposure and speaking in person to an OSHA official or representative.
- Calling the OSHA toll-free central number: 1-800-321-6742
- Using the OSHA Serious Event Reporting Online Form
The following types of reporting are not permitted and will be considered violations of the OSHA ETS:
- In-person reports at local OSHA offices
- Messages left on answering machines