Client Alerts
August 17, 2021

Key Takeaways for Employers Under OSHA’s Updated COVID-19 Guidance as Delta Variant Spreads and Positive COVID Cases Increase

Stites & Harbison Client Alert, August 18, 2021

On August 13, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) updated its guidance for COVID-19 precautions in the workplace to match the CDC’s new guidance, issued on July 27, 2021. OSHA now recommends that employers consider:

  • Providing paid time off to workers for the time it takes to get vaccinated and recover from any side effects
  • Encouraging and/or considering mandating vaccination
  • Implementing multiple layers of controls in the workplace, such as mask wearing, social distancing, and increased ventilation
  • Requiring unvaccinated workers to undergo regular COVID-19 testing in addition to wearing facemasks and physical distancing
  • Suggesting or requiring all employees, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask in public indoor settings under certain circumstances, such as in areas of substantial or high transmission
  • Suggesting or requiring unvaccinated customers, visitors, or guests to wear face coverings in public-facing workplaces, such as retail establishments
  • Providing workers with face coverings or surgical masks, as appropriate, unless their work task requires a respirator or other PPE
  • Instructing workers who are infected or who have COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of vaccination status, to stay home from work for at least 10 days
    • Fully vaccinated workers who have a known exposure should get tested 3-5 days after exposure and should wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result; most fully vaccinated people with no COVID-19 symptoms do not need to quarantine or be restricted from work following an exposure if they follow the testing and masking recommendation above
    • Workers who are not fully vaccinated should be tested immediately and, if negative, tested again in 5-7 days after the last exposure or immediately tested again if symptoms develop during the quarantine period
  • Reminding workers to practice good personal hygiene (e.g., wash hands often, cover nose and mouth with a tissue or the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze, etc.)
  • Performing routine cleaning and disinfection of the workplace
  • Documenting and reporting COVID-19 infections and deaths
  • Implementing protections from retaliation and setting up an anonymous process for workers to voice concerns about COVID-19 hazards

If you have any questions about these recommendations, or how they may impact your workplace, we invite you to contact one of our employment attorneys. Stites & Harbison, PLLC assists clients of all sizes, including publicly traded corporations, privately held companies, small businesses, trade associations, and non-profit organizations alike. It is our business to help your business navigate the ever-changing field of labor and employment law.

Related Capabilities
Employment Law Employment Litigation