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Recording of vaccine reactions will not be enforced

Quietly, the requirement that employers with mandatory vaccine programs must record vaccine reactions was recently reversed in the question-and-answer section of the website. Noting the importance of encouraging vaccinations, the answer states the agency "will not enforce 29 CFR 1904's recording requirements to require any employers to record worker side effects from COVID-19 vaccination through May 2022."

New guidance from CDC on masking and social distancing being reviewed

As employers wait for updated guidance on workplace mitigation recommendations and the expected COVID-19 emergency temporary standard, the following has been posted on the website:

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new guidance relating to recommended precautions for people who are fully vaccinated, which is applicable to activities outside of healthcare and a few other environments. OSHA is reviewing the recent CDC guidance and will update our materials on this website accordingly. Until those updates are complete, please refer to the CDC guidance for information on measures appropriate to protect fully vaccinated workers."

Proposed changes to handrail standard

On May 20, proposed changes to its walking-working surfaces standards (29 CFR §1910.28 and 1910.29) were published to clarify which handrail and stair rail system requirements apply to new stair rail systems (86 FR 27332). As a result of many questions and requests for interpretation of the requirements for handrails and stair rail systems issued in November 2016, the amendment is intended to clarify when handrails are required on stairs as well as what the height requirements are for handrails on stairs and stair rail systems.

The proposal clarifies that a stair rail system with a handrail is required on the open side of certain stairways. It also eases a restriction on previously installed stair rail systems by allowing the top rail of those systems to serve as a handrail when it is as low as 30 inches. It does not intend to require modification to any stair rail system installed before the effective date of a new final rule as long as it was compliant with the rules at the time it was installed.

Comments on proposed changes must be submitted by July 19.

Informal hearing on proposed changes to the HazCom standard

An informal hearing on the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) will begin Sept. 21, 2021, at 10 a.m., EDT, and will be held virtually using WebEx. If necessary, the hearing will continue from 9:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. EDT on subsequent days. Additional information on how to access the informal hearing will be posted on the Proposed Rulemaking to Amend the Hazard Communication Standard webpage.

New resources


Fully vaccinated workers do not need to quarantine

A May 5 update to the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) FAQs clarifies that employers can follow the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidance allowing fully vaccinated employees identified as a close contact of a confirmed positive COVID-19 case to remain in the workplace so long as they are asymptomatic. The ETS requirements related to masks, physical distancing, and testing requirements remain in effect.

CDC guidance under review

Revisions to the ETS are being drafted in light of the CDC guidance regarding fully vaccinated individuals.

Significant updates to emergency rules; draft permanent rules withdrawn

The update removes the requirement that employers must create a "policy prohibiting in-person work for employees to the extent that their work activities can feasibly be completed remotely." It also enables employers to allow fully vaccinated employees to not wear face coverings and social distance provided they have a policy deemed effective to ensure non-vaccinated individuals continue to follow these requirements. Industry-specific rules are eliminated, cleaning protocols updated, temperature check requirements removed although health screening requirements remain in place, and notification and record-keeping requirements are changed. Several other aspects of the rule, including a written COVID-19 preparedness and response plan, designation of "safety coordinators," and employee COVID-19 training remain in place.

Nevada OSHA
Updated guidance on facial coverings and social distancing

Updated guidance indicates that vaccinated workers are not required to wear masks, but that private employers may have policies more restrictive than the CDC guidance. Unvaccinated workers must be provided masks and must wear them in all settings, even when working alone.

Oregon OSHA
Temporary COVID-19 workplace protections extended; Updated requirements on physical distancing and facial coverings

On May 4, a new rule to maintain the temporary COVID-19 workplace protections was extended.

A new statement (Spanish) on the website explains that employers must verify vaccination status of employees and visitors before relaxing mask and distancing requirements.

There is also a specific update for Veterinary practices.

Recent fines and awards

Federal COVID-19




New Jersey