President Biden’s COVID-19 Plan: OSHA Vaccine and Testing Mandate

Mar 22, 2022

In September 2021, President Biden unveiled his administration’s plan to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. It included a vaccine and testing mandate for:

  • Businesses with 100 employees or more
  • Federal employees
  • Federal contractors performing duties at a worksite connected to a Federal Contract

The details outlining how to enact this plan soon followed with the rollout of OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on November 4, 2021.

While certain segments of the ETS standard are undergoing legal challenges, the guidelines to protect workers contained within it are a valuable resource for businesses seeking to minimize their staff member’s exposure to the COVID-19 virus through the use of high-quality testing and an understanding of vaccination safety standards.

OSHA COVID-19 Vaccine and Testing Guideline Updates

The recent U.S. Supreme Court vaccine mandate 2022 ruling emphasizes that a vaccine mandate for businesses with 100 employees or more was too broad in its scope, but a similar mandate with a slightly more limited scope that covers crowded establishments is a feasible requirement for an updated mandate.

This likely means that the requirements contained in the current ETS would apply to any businesses that meet the more limited scope when the ETS is updated. Here are those requirements:

  • Require proof of COVID-19 vaccination
  • Require weekly COVID-19 testing and masking for unvaccinated and not fully vaccinated workers
  • Maintain records of each employee’s vaccination status
  • Report work-related COVID-19 fatalities to OSHA within 8 hours
  • Provide employee with the total number of vaccinated employees at the workplace and the total number of employees
  • Provide employees with the information contained in the ETS, how it’s being implemented at your workplace, discrimination and retaliation protection awareness, penalties for providing false information, and the document ‘Key Thing to Know About COVID-19 Vaccine’.

You can read the full ETS here.

CommunityLab Tip: Many states have adopted their own testing and vaccine mandates to help reduce workplace and recreational COVID-19 spread. You can find your state’s requirements here

Vaccine Mandate Exemption Updates

In addition to the CDC list of medical exemptions, workers exempt from both the vaccine and testing mandates include:

  • Employees not reporting to a workplace where other individuals are present
  • Employees working from home
  • Employees working exclusively outdoors

Update on the Vaccine Mandate for Federal Contractors

While President Biden’s original plan indicated that vaccine mandates for federal contractors might be part of the ETS, these workers are actually covered under the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force COVID-19 Workplace Safety Guidance for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors.

Per this guidance, any federal contractor or subcontractor in a workplace who is working on or in connection with a Federal Government contract or contract-like instrument must adhere to the vaccine mandate for federal workers. Contractors and subcontractors in a covered workplace who aren’t working on a Federal contract must also adhere to this mandate.

Although Federal agencies are required to set up COVID-19 screening testing for their unvaccinated employees, they are not required to include federal contractors in this screening program. This means that if your business chooses to test in order to slow down the spread of COVID-19 and keep your workers healthy, safe, and productive, finding a high-quality, compliant, and tailored testing package is key.

Getting the Most Out of Your Workforce COVID-19 Testing Packages

Finding High-Quality Employee COVID-19 Testing

PCR tests are considered the “gold standard” among COVID-19 tests in part because they have been shown to have a sensitivity (positive test result accuracy) rate of more than 94% and a specificity (negative test result accuracy) rate of 100%.

In addition, salivary COVID-19 testing has numerous advantages over nasal swabbing, including:

  • Easier and more comfortable to collect
  • Greater sensitivity
  • Minimal materials and resources required
  • No need for direct interaction between healthcare providers and your employees, students, colleagues, or visitors

CommunityLab is the exclusive provider in western North Carolina (WNC) for the Yale-developed SalivaDirect™ COVID-19 rapid-result PCR test authorized under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). The test combines our teams’ expert laboratory analysis with the ability to provide your business with fast, 24-hour turnaround time.

Meeting Your Business and Event Needs – Under All COVID-19 Conditions

Whether your organization is large or small, on-site or partially remote, CommunityLab PCR COVID-19 testing provides a wealth of benefits for businesses, educational facilities, events, and more, in the WNC area including:

  • Meeting domestic and international travel requirements for employees, faculty, staff, students, attendees, and visitors with our ‘one way’, ‘round trip’, and ‘safely home’ testing kit options
  • Increasing productivity by minimizing time away from work: at-home or office testing allows for minimal disruptions to workflow, with prepaid overnight shipping and results within 24-hours of receipt
  • Elevating workplace morale by ensuring employees stay safe and have peace of mind when they go back home to their families
  • Building customer connections so when your community sees you doing your part to keep them healthy and thriving, they’re more likely to become loyal customers for life
  • Keeping infected employees, students, and staff out of the public, private, and federal facilities that you do business with
  • Providing quality bulk testing for both affordability and the utmost convenience
  • Generating a unique discount code you can give to your employees and students to help them save money when they order direct from CommunityLab
  • Building a customized solution when you need it in order to minimize your business risk

At CommunityLab in Arden, NC, we have the wholesale testing solutions that help you keep your staff members, colleagues, students, and visitors safe and productive, no matter your size and volume testing demands. Contact us today to set up the right Workforce Compliance COVID-19 Testing Package for your business.