The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently drafted a vaccine emergency temporary standard (ETS) and submitted it for approval. Accordingly, on October 12th, 2021,  the agency delivered the ETS to the White House’s regulatory office. As mandated by President Joseph Biden’s recent six-pronged strategy to combat COVID-19, OSHA created the new emergency temporary standard.

Background of the Vaccine Emergency Temporary Standard

Previously, on September 9, President Biden instructed OSHA to develop an ETS that would require employers with over 100 workers to mandate vaccinations or test employees for COVID-19 weekly. After that, the ETS would then go to the White House’s regulatory office for review and approval. However, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs often takes months to release a new rule to the public. Accordingly, President Biden requested that the agency make reviewing the ETS a top priority. At the present time, the White House has not announced its approval of the ETS. Consequently, the public will probably not see the entire contents of the ETS until that approval takes place.

Step-by-Step Process of the Vaccine Emergency Temporary Standard

According to Fisher Phillips, there are many steps in the ETS regulatory process:

  • The White House reviews and approves the ETS.
  • OSHA publishes the ETS and makes it available to the public.
  • The Federal Register publishes the ETS, making it law.
  • State OSHA Plans have to announce the adoption of the ETS or announce an alternative within 15 days.
  • The State OSHA Plans have another 15 days to make the ETS (or their own option) effective.
  • Enforcement begins on a federal level.
  • State OSHA Plans start enforcement.

At this time and the writing of this post, the White House has not approved the ETS for federal use. Eventually, the ETS would have to go through the different steps listed above. All employers, especially those with 100 or more employees, need to watch for the pending ETS release.  Once released, affected employers will need to comply to avoid potential fines and penalties leveled by OSHA for any violations.