How Vault’s COVID Compliance Solution Helps Businesses Comply With OSHA Mandates

On November 4, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released new COVID-19 vaccine and testing requirements for U.S. employers. The COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requires employers with 100 or more employees to ensure each of their workers is fully vaccinated or tests for COVID at least once a week. This rule applies to 84.2 million employees at 1.9 million private-sector businesses.(1) Naturally, the rule creates logistical and human resources challenges for employers — but Vault can help. What does the OSHA rule require of employers? The new OSHA rule takes a two-pronged approach to worker safety: vaccination and testing. Workers will have the option to choose between these methods, and employers will have to proactively track and trace results, and then provide real-time data to OSHA. More specifically, employers will need to document the vaccination status of each employee and obtain acceptable proof of vaccination. Additionally, they must maintain records of each employee’s vaccination status (including future changes) in the event that they get audited. OSHA’s ETS requires employers to respond to an OSHA inquiry within four hours. Unvaccinated employees will be required to complete weekly COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at the workplace. And here’s something else to keep in mind: employers can pay for any costs associated with testing, but are not required to. This means employers may require employees to pay for tests if they are not vaccinated. However, employer payment for testing may be required by other laws, regulations, collective bargaining agreements, or other collectively negotiated agreements. Who does the OSHA rule apply to? The new mandate applies to all businesses – public and private – in the United States that have at least one hundred employees. This spans across all industries, including but not limited to: manufacturing, retail, delivery services, warehouses, meatpacking, agriculture, construction, software as a service, and healthcare. All employees, including those working part-time, count toward the threshold, but independent contractors do not. The mandate does not apply to employees who:
  • work from home
  • work exclusively outdoors
  • do not report to a workplace where other individuals such as coworkers or customers are present
Which COVID tests can employers administer to their employees? OSHA has not named specific brands of tests that employers must use; however, there are important requirements about what COVID tests are allowed under the ETS.
  • COVID tests must be FDA-approved or have emergency use authorization (EUA)
  • Tests cannot be both self-administered and self-read unless observed by the employer or an authorized telehealth proctor. This means that both PCR and rapid tests must be observed.
Examples of allowable tests include:
  • those with specimens that are processed by a laboratory (including home or on-site collected specimens which are processed either individually or as pooled specimens)
  • proctored over-the-counter tests
  • point of care tests
  • tests where specimen collection is either done or observed by an employer or observed by an authorized telehealth proctor.
The FDA has notably authorized over 400 COVID-19 tests and collection kits since the pandemic began, but only thirteen of those are allowed for at-home use. (2) Vault Health is one of the only providers that also includes a test supervisor in the testing process. Compliance doesn’t have to be hard If you’re thinking that the new federal mandates seem complicated, you’re not alone. This is new territory for both employers and employees that will undoubtedly pose many logistical challenges. That’s where Vault comes in; our COVID Compliance Solution offers a HIPAA-compliant way to track employee vaccination status; ship, supervise the sample collection of, and quickly return test kits; and monitor the compliance status of each employee. We simplify the entire process for employers, taking the burden off employers, creating an auditable record, and easily enabling compliance under the OSHA rules.
  • We collect vaccination status and manage the testing logistics.
Vaccinated or unvaccinated, we collect and safeguard employee vaccination info for employers. If employees are vaccinated, they go through a quick registration process where they input details regarding their vaccination and upload a picture of their vaccine card. After registering, they never have to interact with the system again. Anyone who isn’t vaccinated will be tested weekly and Vault can automatically manage employee testing in your method of choice—including at home or on-site.
  • We follow-up with non-vaccinated employees about their vaccination status.
Each test is coded so Vault can repeatedly ask non-vaccinated employees about their vaccination status any time they test. If employees are in the process of getting vaccinated, they’re required to test until two weeks after their second shot, allowing the employer to save money by ending testing when they’re fully vaccinated. Our system is flexible and enables employers to activate and deactivate employees over time to reflect changes in their workforce.
  • Our testing program provides a reliable supply of tests approved under OSHA guidelines. 
There are specific requirements for what types of tests are accepted – our primary test offering, the at-home PCR saliva test meets all requirements, including supervision via Zoom with a Vault clinician. We can also work with employers to do onsite testing and have additional test offerings like rapid point of care testing that also meets OSHA guidelines. Ultimately, we can meet the needs of every workforce.
  • Results arrive in real-time.
Employers and employees have access to testing results weekly. The results come in real-time and employers can clearly see those who haven’t yet been tested for that week.
  • We can customize the program based on your needs.
Our comprehensive turnkey solution can help you take care of what’s needed. Whether you need an end-to-end program or support with one or two key logistics, our program can be customized based on your objectives. Whether you’re looking for a one-time vaccination audit or a comprehensive system for tracking and testing unvaccinated employees, our end-to-end turnkey solutions can help you comply with the new proposed regulations. Check out this page to learn more about Vault Health’s COVID Compliance Solution for businesses. DISCLAIMER: This article is for general information purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be relied upon for medical diagnosis or treatment.  If you are experiencing an emergency, dial 911 or contact a medical provider immediately.  Consistent with Vault Health, Inc.’s website privacy policy, Vault Health, Inc. is not responsible for the privacy practices or the content found at links to other websites. The content of this article represents the views and opinions of the individual author, and does not constitute legal advice. Employers seeking more information about the Covid-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) issued by OSHA should consult with their own employment counsel. References
  1. Bose, N., Shepardson, D., Aboulenein, A., and Hals, T. (2021, November 5). Biden Sets COVID-19 Vaccine Rules for Businesses. Reuters
2. Food and Drug Administration. (2021, September). COVID-19 Tests and Collection Kits Authorized by the FDA [Illustration].
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