J. J. Keller® Compliance Network Logo
Start Customizing Your Profile for Free!
Update to Professional Trial!

Experience Everything Compliance Network Has to Offer

Already have an account?
Thank you for investing in EnvironmentalHazmat related content. Click 'UPGRADE' to continue.
Enjoy your limited-time access to the Compliance Network Professional Trial!
A confirmation welcome email has been sent to your email address from ComplianceNetwork@t.jjkellercompliancenetwork.com. Please check your spam/junk folder if you can't find it in your inbox.
Thank you for your interest in EnvironmentalHazmat related content.
You've reached your limit of free access, if you'd like more info, please contact us at 800-327-6868.

My employees are asking questions aboutt he COVID-19 ETS. What do I do?


Earlier this month, OSHA released an emergency temporary standard (ETS) requiring private employers with 100 or more employees to create a COVID-19 vaccination policy. That policy must require employees be vaccinated or tested weekly and wear face coverings.

All but the testing provisions are effective December 6. The testing provisions are effective January 4. Legal challenges are underway, but HR professionals would be wise to prepare now for how their organizations are going to comply with the ETS, rather than wait for the outcome of these challenges.

If you’re fielding questions about the ETS, here are some tips for communicating with employees.

First, let employees know that all health and safety requirements need to be met. This includes requiring vaccinations, testing, masking, and accommodations, as required by law.

It may help to designate a point person to be responsible for communication. Under the emergency temporary standard, employers need to provide some specific information:

  • Your COVID-19 vaccination policy, or your policy on COVID-19 vaccination, testing, and face covering
  • The document “Key Things to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines,” available online from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Information about workers’ rights under the standard, relating to protection from retaliation and discrimination
  • Information about penalties employees face for providing false statements and records

This information can be provided in emails or through printed fact sheets posted on a community bulletin board. It can also be shared during a discussion at a regularly scheduled team meeting.

Sample policies and fact sheets relating to the required information are available on the OSHA website.

Be empathic

If workers express concerns about a new vaccination requirement being implemented, acknowledge these concerns. Let employees know they are valued and that you are following all federal requirements

Change is stressful for everyone. Make workers and managers aware of employee assistance programs and other mental health resources that are available. In addition, continue communicating with employees as requirements evolve. Keeping employees informed and sharing what you know builds trust and supports well-being.