While there is no specific COVID-19 standard that applies to employers and employees not covered by the recent emergency temporary standard (ETS) applicable specifically to employers with employees working in a health-care setting, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) continues to issue citations under the so-called General Duty Clause, Section 5(a) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, as well as specific standards that OSHA believes are applicable to a given situation.
Moreover, OSHA issued guidance in late January 2021 titled “Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace,” which was intended to help employers implement COVID-19 prevention programs and identify risks that could lead to employees being exposed to the virus. On June 10, 2021, OSHA updated that guidance to further assist employers and workers not covered by its ETS and, like other federal agencies, to encourage COVID-19 vaccination. Set forth below are highlights of that updated guidance. Health-care employers are required to comply with OSHA’s COVID-19 ETS absent an applicable exemption. An overview of an employer’s obligations under the ETS is covered in a separate alert found here.