We don’t know when the OSHA guidance is coming out, but we know it will come shortly, and we believe that it will likely stand up to any legal challenges that are brought against it. Some of our sources think it’s still weeks (not months) away and may be out around mid-October. After the guidance is drafted, it will likely be a few more weeks in the Office of Management and Budget before it’s out in the world, plus they’ll give time for companies to get into compliance.
We know that the new rules will require weekly testing for employees who aren’t vaccinated for all companies with more than 100 employees.
There are still lots of unknowns, like what exactly it will say, how it will enforce that, and exemptions. One of the biggest unknowns is whether or not franchised organizations’ employees will be included.
We’re excited to see that there appears to be some immediate vaccine uptake when unvaccinated employees are informed of a vaccine mandate. Then, after getting weekly testing twice, many of the remaining group choose to go get vaccinated rather than continue getting weekly tests. So, we do want to make testing easy, but we don’t want to make it TOO easy, because it’s a compelling argument for vaccination!
But we know that the remaining folks are unlikely to change their minds, so every business will need to plan for weekly testing for those who aren’t vaccinated.
We’re woefully behind in the US in terms of test availability, so we’ll likely need to accept a large variety of tests, including rapid and PCR/molecular tests, and home tests. Our best guess in terms of the OSHA ruling is that rapid tests will be accepted, because the turnaround time for PCRs can be up to 2-3 days.
Some companies are stockpiling rapid tests now to be able to comply with the OSHA regulations when they’re released, while others are waiting to find out if there’s some sort of partnership or subsidized tests through the Federal government that’s rolled out with the OSHA guidelines.
Here are three simple steps in regards to the testing mandates for unvaccinated employees.
You’ll need to track vaccination status and weekly tests for those who aren’t vaccinated, and keep the system smooth for people who (hopefully!) move from weekly testers to vaccinated.
One great idea that some of our clients are doing is piloting your testing and vaccination tracking in a few small locations before the regulations go live. Some are waiting to find out more about what they’ll need, but others are prepping for weekly testing now so that they have time to smooth out any kinks before they go live with OSHA enforcement. We realize that the final testing process may look different than their pilot but the lessons learned will be valuable.
We also saw a number of positive test results in those pilot programs, especially in that first week before the outbreaks were nipped in the bud, so prepare for a few positive cases to come up as well!
We can help with COVID vaccination and test tracking! Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about our testing and tracking system.