Are you Prepared for the OSHA Vaccine/Testing Standards?

Flu Status

  • CDC: 1.9% of patient visits reported through ILINet were due to influenza. The percentage of patient visits for ILI remains below the baseline of 2.6% nationally. All ten regions are below their region-specific baselines.
  • WHO: “Globally, despite continued or even increased testing for influenza in some countries, influenza activity remained at lower levels than expected for this time of the year. Worldwide, influenza A and B viruses were detected in similar proportions.”

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Recommendations for Industry

Are you Prepared for the OSHA Vaccine/Testing Standards?

Although we are continuing to await the OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for vaccine/testing mandates, it is important that businesses be considering their policies and practices once the standards are set – particularly focused on the certain reduced availability of testing.

At TAG, we have no predictions on when the OSHA ETS will be published, but we have no doubt that the increased need for testing will create a significant supply shortage, with not enough tests widely available to continue the regular testing of the symptomatic as well as the weekly testing of the unvaccinated.

Some things you may want to consider, derived from a list by SHRM:

  • Understand the vaccination status of your workforce. How many are unvaccinated? How have or will you determine this?
  • Will you provide opportunities for vaccinations for those who may now prefer that over weekly testing?
  • Will you have on-site testing? Are there locations you will recommend to your employees? And/or what tests will you accept?
  • Who will pay for the cost of testing? Does your state require employer payment? Will it be covered through employer-sponsored insurance?
  • Will employees have paid time off for the testing – or to become vaccinated, or will you require that it be done on their own time?
  • What will you do if no tests are available in an employee’s area?
  • What will you do if an employee misses their test or refuses to be tested?

All these questions may not be able to be answered until the standard is published, but the more a business can do to prepare now, the easier compliance will be when it is required.

If you have questions or need assistance for employee testing or other COVID-19 or infectious diseases policies and practices, give TAG a call. Our Public Health Experts can assist.

In Case You Missed It

  • In last Thursday’s Recommendations for Industry, we discussed the need for cautious optimism spurred by current COVID trends. Read more here.
  • As you’ll see in the Risk Matrix, COVID-19 cases have dropped 34% in the last month. However, this is not even across all states as some states like Alaska have seen increased cases and TPRs. Children, however, account for an increasing number of cases.
  • Pfizer is currently asking for approval for its COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11. According to NYT, “The agency has promised to move quickly on the request and has tentatively scheduled a meeting on Oct. 26 to consider it. A ruling is expected between Halloween and Thanksgiving.”
  • While antibody tests can indicate when one was previously infected (or vaccination immunity), antibody tests should not be used to indicate or provide insight on the strength of one’s immunity.
  • Biden has announced a $1B investment to quadruple the national supply of at-home COVID-19 tests (by December) [CIDRAP]. While the FDA continues to increase additional over-the-counter home tests [FDA1], one test is being recalled for potential “false positives” for the Ellume COVID-19 home tests. Visit Ellume’s website for a complete list of affected Ellume COVID-19 Home Tests [FDA2].
  • The FDA continues to update its hand sanitizers that consumers should not use. Today, it has added artnaturals hand sanitizers to the list due to unacceptably high levels of benzene, acetaldehyde, and acetal contaminants.
  • After being removed through the summer, Nevada’s COVID-19 dashboard is back online.
  • According to the CDC director, influenza experts are concerned that the United States could be at risk for a severe flu season this year because the U.S. population may now have reduced immunity against influenza after flu cases reached an all-time low last year. CDC is urging Americans to get vaccinated for both COVID and the flu.