C of C – The Terrifying New OSHA COVID ETS for Montana Businesses

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If your business has 100 or more employees, locally, regionally or nationally, the new OSHA ETS (Temporary emergency standard) imposes a huge burden that can include thousands of dollars in fines for any employee who is not fully vaccinated against COVID 19, and it could get worse; much worse.

On Friday, the US Chamber of Commerce hosted a video webinar to share information with employers regarding OSHA ETS.

One of the presenters, Neil Bradley, said that just because an employee may have already had COVID and recovered, OSHA does not count “natural immunity” as a substitute for be “fully vaccinated”.

“OSHA does not accept past recovery and natural immunity to COVID as a vaccine substitute,” Bradley said. They tell people that they need to be vaccinated even if they have contracted the disease and have natural immunity. I think it’s interesting. You are considered fully vaccinated once you have received the vaccines, although it usually takes some time after that to be considered fully effective, but once you have received the vaccines you are considered fully vaccinated. within the framework of the ETS.

Dozens of states, including Montana, have sued OSHA’s dictates. It makes no difference in the demand for full compliance.

“Just because a state has opposed it or is trying to pass a law to counter it does not mean that this regulation is not having an effect,” said spokesman Glenn Spencer. “It is indeed in the States which contest this regulation. Employers need to understand that federal regulation would supersede any state attempt to counter it.. “

Each violation results in a fine of $ 14,000 from OSHA, unless the agency determines that the business or company is’do not take the rules seriously‘, the federal hammer will fall heavily on this business, said Chamber of Commerce spokesman Marc Freedman.

“At this point, I think the standard approach (of a fine of $ 14,000 per violation) will be for employers. So if they come in and find that you haven’t met some of these requirements, they’ll cite the employer as an entity and won’t rack up every individual employee who hasn’t been captured. However, if the employee demonstrates that he did not take this rule seriously and OSHA feels he needs to make an example, he could add up each employee and call it a blatant penalty and add up each violation.

But wait. It’s even better.

Bradley said the $ 14,000 fine could be higher, much higher, if President Biden’s “Build Back Better” reconciliation package passes Congress.

“As part of the ‘Build Back Better’ reconciliation program, OSHA penalties will increase dramatically. If this is passed and enacted, OSHA penalties will increase. The $ 14,000 level I mentioned earlier will become $ 70,000 and then the other penalties will increase accordingly. So it jumps very quickly. And if that is passed and OSHA comes to cite you for these violations, it will become very expensive very quickly. “

A note to employers from OSHA, Bradley said.

“Employers will need to develop a program that will check the immunization status of all your employees. You will be asked to obtain proof of this vaccination and you will need to keep records of vaccination status. Now, the general objective of this rule is to encourage employers to vaccinate all their employees, ”he said.

To see the full US Chamber of Commerce webinar here.

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