Compliance Alert; Interim Final Rule; COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing; Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS)
SUMMARY: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is issuing an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to protect unvaccinated employees of large employers (100 or more employees) from the risk of contracting COVID-19 by strongly encouraging vaccination. Covered employers must develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, with an exception for employers that instead adopt a policy requiring employees to either get vaccinated or elect to undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work in lieu of vaccination.
OSHA released its Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on protecting employees from the COVID-19 virus. The ETS requires employers with 100 or more employees (note, this is total employee count, not employee count per location) to develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, unless they adopt a policy requiring employees to choose to either be vaccinated or undergo regular COVID-19 testing and also wear a face covering at work if not vaccinated. Remote employees are included in the employee count total but are not required to be included in the vaccination/testing policy.
Employers will be required to pay for time off to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and deal with side effects post-vaccination. Employers do not need to pay for time off for testing; nor do they need to pay for face coverings.
“… employers may consider utilizing workplace announcements (e-mail messages, safety talks, etc.) or displaying signs or posters throughout the facility about proper face covering usage. “
All the provisions except for those involving testing are effective December 5, 2021. The testing requirements are effective January 4, 2022. As an ETS, the requirements will be in effect for six months. At that time OSHA must decide whether to proceed with a permanent rulemaking process.
Employers should pay close attention to legal maneuverings and their outcomes.
Note: The ETS does not cover:
In addition to creating the vaccination/testing policy, employers must also:
Seasonal Flu Awareness Information for Businesses and Employers
Seasonal Flu Awareness Information for Businesses and Employers Fighting flu in the workplace will be more important than ever this season and coming to work sick is no longer a “badge of honor”, it is a clear safety hazard. Take action to keep your workplace healthy this flu season. Consider offering free on-site flu vaccinations at your business location(s). If your business cannot offer flu vaccine clinics onsite, encourage employees to seek a flu vaccination in the community. Making annual flu vaccinations part of your workplace wellness program offers many benefits to you and your employees. 10 Tips for Preventing the Spread of Flu at Work Employees are a crucial resource at any business. There are steps you can take now, and during the 2020-2021 flu season, to help protect the health of your employees.
1. Encourage all employees to get a seasonal flu vaccine each fall.
2. Consider hosting a flu vaccine clinic at your workplace, if possible. Provide resources to employees about where they can get a flu vaccine in their community.
3. Develop and review sick leave policies that encourage sick workers to stay at home without fear of any reprisals.
4. Advise all employees to stay home if they are sick until at least 24 hours after their fever (temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher) is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicines. Note: Not everyone with flu will have a fever. Individuals with suspected or confirmed flu, who do not have a fever, should stay home from work at least 4-5 days after the onset of symptoms. Persons with the flu are most contagious during the first three days of their illness.
5. Sick employees should be asked to go home. Employees who appear to have flu symptoms upon arrival or become sick during the workday should be promptly separated from others and asked to go home.
6. Develop other flexible policies to allow workers to work remotely (if feasible) and create other leave policies to allow workers to stay home to care for sick family members or care for children if schools close.
7. Instruct employees who are well, but who have a sick family member at home with the flu, that they can go to work as usual. These employees should monitor their health every day and notify their supervisor and stay home if they become sick. Employees who have a certain underlying medical condition or who are pregnant should promptly call their health care provider for advice if they become sick.
8. Provide resources and a work environment that promotes preventive actions to reduce the spread of flu. For example, provide tissues, no-touch trash cans, hand soap, and/or hand sanitizer.
TIPS 10 nationalmarker.com | P: 800.453.2727 F: 800.338.0309 | 3 | 2020-20
NMC’s Patented Sign Muscle® Sign Coating: What Sign Manufacturer’s Do Not Want You to Know
If you buy a sign from a company other than National Marker Company, you might as well buy three while you are at it. In the end, the safety sign you buy will be faded and damaged in as little as six months to a year – a problem that does not happen with Sign Muscle®. It is a revolutionary, patented protective coating applied to every NMC sign, ensuring you will only have to buy one sign to get the job done. Did we mention it is free?
Sign Muscle is a crystal clear, tough UV-cured liquid laminate that encapsulates every sign that leaves the NMC factory. It was born out of a necessity and there is simply nothing else on the market that compares. Most safety signs you may buy from unknown sources on Amazon or elsewhere – can easily scratch or be damaged. The over-laminate applied (if applied) to the sign does little to stop damage, and it always peels off.
The average safety sign takes a harsh beating during its lifespan:
Sign Muscle's liquid polymer encapsulates every edge, crevice, and corner of the sign to ensure the message and durability of the sign is always kept intact.
In the past, safety signs have been fit with a sleeve or cover in hopes that it will keep the sign looking fresh or new. Signs are not cellphones – they are not kept in a safe area because then the message wouldn't be seen. Instead, they are on the frontline of protecting employees, battling the elements year-round. Without proper protection, they will be worn down.
Sign Muscle is, simply put, superior to every other product on the market.
Most companies make you pay up to $20-$35 extra for a laminate that can be peeled off the moment it is delivered. Ultimately, you end up buying these signs year after year, spending more money each time for something that should only be bought once.
Sign Muscle is applied to every sign, free-of-charge. Other companies make you pay – sometimes as much as the sign is worth – for a useless, plastic cover. Its UV-coating formula makes it stronger and look newer the longer it sits in the sun. It can withstand high-pressure water, and spray paint can be wiped off with nothing more than a rag and isopropyl alcohol.
If you keep buying the same old sign, you will keep having the same issues. We are well into the 21st century – why stick with the old methods that only cost you more money in the long run? Sign Muscle is the toughest sign you will never have to replace, guaranteed.
That is documentable cost-savings!
Severe Weather Safety at Work
March is Spring Weather Safety Awareness Month – including awareness of tornado. Flood, lightning, and tsunami events.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires all employers to develop a written emergency action plan to protect employees during emergency situations, this includes severe weather.
An emergency action plan (EAP) is a written document required by OSHA standards [29 CFR 1910.38(a)]. The purpose of an EAP is to facilitate and organize employer and employee actions during workplace emergencies. Well-developed emergency plans and proper employee training (such that employees understand their roles and responsibilities within the plan) will result in fewer and less severe employee injuries and less structural damage to the facility during emergencies. A poorly prepared plan, likely will lead to a disorganized evacuation or emergency response, resulting in confusion, injury, and property damage.
Putting together a comprehensive emergency action plan that deals with those issues specific to your worksite is not difficult. It involves taking what was learned from your workplace evaluation and describing how employees will respond to different types of emergencies, considering your specific worksite layout, structural features, and emergency system.
A disorganized evacuation can result in confusion, injury, and property damage. Follow these tips to better your plan.
Drafting an emergency action plan (EAP) is not enough to ensure the safety of your employees. When an evacuation is necessary, you will need responsible, trained individuals who can supervise and coordinate activities to ensure a safe and successful evacuation. An EAP will be useful only if its content is up to date and employees are sufficiently educated and trained before an actual evacuation.
Using these tips will help everyone stay safe during the spring and summer months when storms are still very prevalent.
For more information visit OSHA’s Evacuation Plan and Procedures page
Distracted Driving Awareness: Tips to Keep You Safe
The National Safety Council recognizes April as driving awareness month to draw attention to distracted driving. According to NSC, thousands of people die every year from distracted driving – whether making phone calls, texting, drowsy driving, or eating a sandwich, distracted driving comes in various forms…but are all equally as fatal.
Taking your eyes off the road or hands off the wheel – even for just a couple of seconds! – puts yourself and others in a dangerous situation. Swerving into another lane or running through a stop sign happens way too often due to distracted driving. According to NSC, someone is hurt in a car crash every 8 seconds. That number can be reduced by safe driving practices. Here are a few tips to help you pay attention at the wheel and keep you safe:
That’s right, just simply placing your phone somewhere discreet will help you reduce the urge to check every notification you receive. Some key places to store your phone are your backseat pocket, your glove compartment, or on the floor of your passenger side. Not being able to see it light up or hear it ring allows you to focus on the road, and not what is happening in your social life.
It is important to note while keeping your phone at a distance may reduce distracted driving, keeping it close enough to access in case of an emergency is necessary! Pull over to grab your phone if you need to use it – do not put yourself or others in danger by using it while driving.
In some states, using a Bluetooth® earpiece is mandated by law. This little piece of technology is perfect for anyone who has long commutes or does business on the go. With the click of a button, you can answer your phone – distraction free! Some vehicles now utilize Bluetooth® technology for a quick 1-press answering system that sounds throughout the entire car. While using a hands-free device does not eliminate distracted driving, it can certainly reduce it.
Distracted driving means more than just using technology. In fact, according to DrowsyDriving.org, approximately 100,000 crashes each year are the direct result of driver fatigue. Whether you are ill, unfocused, or just exhausted, do not put yourself or others in danger – find another way to get where you need to go. If you are not feeling 100%, pull over and take a break. Doing so will help you recharge and make it safe for you to get behind the wheel.
Regardless of what is going on in your life, in the car, or on the other side of the highway, keep your eyes on the road and your mind grounded – it only takes a second for an accident to happen. That means, no eating breakfast, no applying makeup, and no reading a map while driving.
It is important to know what is happening in your surroundings, so constantly checking your mirrors, and watching your speed can keep you in the know of what is going on around you, to help prevent any accidents from happening.
By following these tips and sharing them with others, you can help save thousands of lives. The only thing you need to be doing while driving is…you guessed it! Drive! Instead of letting yourself be distracted behind the wheel, just pull over and do what you must do. You never know how many lives could have been at risk by driving distracted.