As nationwide access to the covid vaccine has finally been increased to a majority of the nation, agencies have made new updates to workplace policies that further the efforts to fully reopen workplaces and public places. Recently the CDC and OSHA released updated guidelines on how employers should enforce mask and social distancing guidelines for employees who have been vaccinated. OSHA had originally released guidelines in accordance with 29 C.F.R. 1904.6, which required employers to record adverse reactions that employees may have experienced as a result of the vaccine.  After a careful review of this policy, OSHA and the Department of Labor recognized that the requirement that employers report these adverse reactions might lead to a decrease in mandated vaccination policies in workplaces.
In order to promote vaccinations and the likelihood that employers implement vaccination programs, OSHA decided to no longer require that employers report these reactions under OSHA guidelines. OSHA decided to remove the prior mandatory reporting policy partially in response to what the CDC recognized as a documented dip in percentages of vaccinations administered between April and May of this year. This altered policy coincides with recently updated CDC guidelines which permit fully vaccinated individuals to move about in public places without masks or maintaining six-foot distancing from others. Many states have also loosened guidelines on testing before or after traveling, and self-quarantining after arrival, for presently vaccinated individuals. It is important to note that OSHA guidelines will continually be updated as our country continues the push towards full vaccination and the CDC updates its guidelines accordingly. Employers must make best efforts to keep themselves informed on these constantly changing guidelines, to ensure compliance with OSHA requirements and CDC guidelines.
If you or your company have any questions concerning the updated protocols on Covid and the effect on your workplace, please do not hesitate to call us at 516-888-1208 or email Cynthia Augello at [email protected]
Thank you to Joel Thomas, JD for his assistance with this post.