The Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) Plan, along with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), remains headline news as the federal government continues to move ahead with its plans for mandates in regards to COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccine. Recently, we explored the preparations by OSHA, as well as whether OSHA can realistically enforce these mandates should they become reality. However, individual business owners and leaders need to understand the ETS plan while also exploring your options- such as partnering with a company like Medek Health- for remaining compliant once these mandates take effect.
Does the ETS apply to my workplace?
With so many opinions masquerading as fact in headlines these days, it may be hard to understand if, and in what ways, the COVID-19 ETS could apply to your healthcare practice. Previously, OSHA released a flowchart infographic to help determine if healthcare workplaces were covered by the COVID-19 Healthcare ETS.
While there isn’t one currently available for non-healthcare workplaces, enough information has been released to provide a strong starting point. All private employers with 100 or more employees will fall under the federal ETS (or any state standard equal to or exceeding the federal guidelines). These headcounts will be company-wide and not based on individual worksites.
Additionally, if the staffing level of a certain company is known to fluctuate above and below 100, the company will more than likely be subject to the ETS if their numbers did reach or exceed 100 at any point in the year (although confirmation on this will come once guidelines are officially released).
Understanding your employees’ vaccination status
While this may be a challenge based on the local laws and mandates in your area, knowing the vaccination status of your employees can provide vital information to assist in your decision-making process. Not only will it help you understand how your employees feel about the vaccine in general (and, by extension how they may feel about any possible mandate), it will help you gauge the best way to implement the ETS.
For example, if out of 100 employees, only ten are unvaccinated, selecting regular testing maybe your best option. However, if 75 out of 100 of your employees are unvaccinated, regular testing could become a logistical and data challenge- unless you have the right testing partner.
The where and why of testing
When evaluating a mandate of any sort within your company, it’s important to consider what it will mean for the daily lives of your employees. For example, mandatory testing. While the easiest choice may be to say, “There is XYZ pharmacy right around the corner,” is it the easiest for your employee? Your employees already dedicate a large portion of their day to your company. Is it fair to expect them to take the time to schedule an appointment, drive to the pharmacy, wait in line, and then manage to get their results from the pharmacy to your reporting department?
On-site testing is a great way to show you care about remaining compliant, keeping employees safe, while also valuing their time. Similarly, making FDA-approved, at-home testing kits available to your employees to test in the privacy of their own home. However, at-home testing is once again putting the responsibility of testing on the employee, while partnering with Medek Health to implement a testing program will ensure testing is integrated into their workday seamlessly and without a large effort on their part.
Just the beginning…
Determining whether your work will fall under the ETS, and establishing testing protocols, are just the beginning of what you need to consider. There are other factors such as cost, paid time off requirements, what your actual written compliance policy will look like, and the tone of your written employee communications. However, your testing requirements, and the level of consideration offered to your employees, can go a long way in helping your company not only remain compliant- but having willing, engaged employees who are happy to do their part.
To learn more about Medek Health, and our on-site testing capabilities, contact us today!