As the COVID-19 pandemic approaches its third year in the public limelight, there are still plenty of ongoing legal battles over regulations and restrictions imposed on the general population. The recent judicial action regarding OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) holds particular interest for the oil and gas industry because it applies to all private sector businesses with 100 employees or more.
Basic Requirements of the ETS Mandate
The mandate came shortly after Biden called on OSHA to establish and enforce specific rules regarding pandemic protocols for businesses during a presidential announcement in September of 2021. In response, OSHA published the ETS just a few months later.
The emergency standard would require all employers who have at least 100 US employees to ensure their workers are fully vaccinated against the virus or tested regularly for active infection. The possibility of the ETS being passed has left many employers scrambling to establish proper COVID management procedures in accordance to the rules set forth.
Overview of the Sixth Circuit Court Decision
When OSHA released a draft of the ETS in November 2021 it was met with a mixed response, including legal action. Dozens of lawsuits challenged the mandate in court on the grounds that such a testing and COVID vaccine mandate was outside the scope of OSHA’s authority and that the proposed rules created unreasonable economic or logistical burdens for companies. These lawsuits prompted an appellate court to put a stay on the mandate.
After aggregating the opposing lawsuits, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the stay on December 17, 2021, which effectively reinstated the OSHA policy across the country. This decision came as a surprise to many observers who expected a longer deliberation or permanent rejection of the standard. The deadline for compliance was set for January 10, 2022, but that date could be changed by court order to give employers more time to comply.
What Should You Do Now?
There’s a good chance these rules will be in effect for the duration of the pandemic, so your best option is to prepare for long-term compliance. Of course, this is easier said than done for many oil and gas operators. In an industry already known for its logistical challenges, this kind of mandate can look quite intimidating from a distance.
As a certified Authorized Telehealth Proctor, Pharma-Safe has the expertise and experience to address these responsibilities for you. Our team can design and implement a customized plan in compliance with the ETS rules, freeing you from the burden of developing and executing a comprehensive program on your own.
Telehealth and Testing
At-home testing is an efficient way for employers to screen their workforce with minimal cost or logistical challenge. By instructing and supervising at-home testing through telehealth, our team can ensure proper testing practices from virtually anywhere. Employees can conveniently schedule an appointment online and our clinicians will walk them through the process of gathering and analyzing results in as little as 15 minutes.
This COVID testing approach combines the flexibility and accessibility of at-home testing solutions without compromising the reliability of test results. To maintain compliance for vaccinated personnel, Pharma-Safe also helps employers keep vaccination records to ensure your database is current, accurate and accessible at all times—providing you a comprehensive program to manage your ETS plan with ease.
Manage COVID with Confidence
As an experienced and reputable provider of telemedicine services specialized for industrial operations, Pharma-Safe is equipped and prepared to address OSHA ETS concerns with confidence. Our certification as an Authorized Telehealth Proctor means we are officially recognized as a provider for COVID-19 testing and COVID management plans.
Contact us today to learn more about how our customizable solutions can help you protect employee health, minimize unnecessary expenses and mitigate major risks.