COVID-19 ARCHIVED RESOURCES
As of May 12, 2022
OSHA Withdraws Covid-19 Vax or Test ETS
On Tuesday, January 25, 2022, the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) revoked its COVID-19 vaccination-or-testing emergency temporary standard (ETS) applicable to private businesses with 100 or more employees in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. In addition, it is AGC’s understanding that the agency will no longer pursue a permanent infectious disease standard broadly applicable to private businesses, ending the threat of such a mandate enduring forever. The agency will, however, pursue a more tailored permanent standard applicable to healthcare.
This is a clear and complete legal victory for AGC of America and its Construction Advocacy Fund-financed lawsuit challenging the ETS. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed with AGC’s argument, among others, that OSHA overreached and exceeded its authority under the law. The ETS represented a general public health measure—which Congress never authorized it to issue—instead of a narrower occupational safety or health standard based on risks limited to the workplace.
Although this lawsuit against OSHA is over, AGC of America continues to press forward in another Construction Advocacy Fund-financed lawsuit against the federal contractor vaccine mandate, currently under nationwide stay.
And the association’s broader efforts to support the construction industry’s voluntary encouragement for the use of COVID-19 vaccines remain. AGC of America has put forth a host of construction industry-specific resources on its COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit webpage. The resources include a series of Construction Advocacy Fund-financed public service ads AGC of America created specifically targeting construction workers.
AGC members should continue to follow OSHA’s COVID-19 guidance, as the agency plans general enforcement of COVID-19 protocols via the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s General Duty Clause.
Supreme Court Strikes Down OSHA's Vaccine ETS
The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 13 blocked OSHA’s COVID vaccine-or-testing emergency temporary standard (ETS) from being enforced for the foreseeable future, meaning your compliance to-do list has gotten significantly shorter – but it has by no means disappeared. Click to read.
5-Step Plan for Employers as CDC Reduces COVID-10 Isolation and Quarantine Periods
In response to the ongoing Omicron wave of COVID-19 cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated its guidance to reduce, in most instances, both the length of time an individual must isolate after contracting COVID-19, and the quarantine period for those exposed to the illness. Click to read.
Supreme Court Freezes OSHA COVID-19 Vaccination-or-Testing ETS
AGC to Continue with Litigation on the Merits of the ETS
On January 13, the Supreme Court reinstated the nationwide stay on implementation and enforcement of the OSHA COVID-19 vaccination-or-testing emergency temporary standard (ETS). As a result of this decision, OSHA will have to suspend its ETS compliance efforts, many of which took effect on January 10. The case will now go back to the lower courts for ligation on the merits of the ETS. There, AGC of America will remain engaged via its Construction Advocacy Fund-backed lawsuit challenging the ETS. To support the Fund and efforts other pro-construction industry efforts, click here.
In an effort to assist AGC members with increasing the vaccination rates among their workforce and with understanding the ETS requirements, the association created a COVID-19 vaccine tool kit webpage that contains a construction-oriented summary of the ETS detailing employers’ compliance options and obligations as well as additional resources. This toolkit also includes a series of vaccine Public Service Ads AGC of America created specifically targeting construction workers.
Update on AGC of America Litigation Against COVID Vax Mandates 1.5.22
AGC of America is pursuing two Construction Advocacy Fund-backed lawsuits regarding COVID-19 vaccination mandates impacting the construction industry.
AGC of America filed the first lawsuit on November 15, 2021, challenging OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on COVID-19 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
One month later, the association filed a second lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas against the mandate that federal contractors and subcontractors require many and perhaps all of their employees to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
Click here to read the update on these two cases and related litigation.
Sixth Circuit Dissolves Stay Allowing OSHA to move forward with Implementation and Enforcement of the COVID-19 Vaccine and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard
On Friday, December 17, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit dissolved the Fifth Circuit’s stay of the OSHA Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). This decision allows OSHA to proceed with implementation and enforcement of the rule issued on November 5, 2021. AGC is a party to the proceedings in the Sixth Circuit, having filed its own petition for petition for review, and is actively engaged in a review of its legal options moving forward. AGC will continue to keep its chapters and members updated on any future developments.
To account for any uncertainty created by the Fifth Circuit's stay, OSHA is exercising enforcement discretion with respect to the compliance dates of the ETS. To provide employers with sufficient time to come into compliance, OSHA will not issue citations for noncompliance with any requirements of the ETS before January 10, 2022, and will not issue citations for noncompliance with the standard’s testing requirements before February 9, 2022, so long as an employer is exercising reasonable, good faith efforts to come into compliance with the standard.
US Department of Labor extends comment period for COVID-19 vaccination and testing emergency temporary standard November 30, 2021
Preparing for the OSHA COVID-19 Vaccine/Testing Mandate Webinar Series presented by AGC of America
Webinar Three: OSHA COVID-19 Vaccine/Testing Mandate: Contractual Considerations for Construction Firms
November 11, 2021
Click here for webinar pdf.
Click here to view webinar.
Understanding the Federal Contractor COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate October 25, 2021
Managing COVID-19 Vaccination Mandates provided by Woods Aitken
Click to read
OSHA ETS UPDATE
On November 17th, OSHA officially announced via a posting to their website that, “While OSHA remains confident in its authority to protect workers in emergencies, OSHA has suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement of the ETS pending future developments in the litigation." On November 16th, the US judicial panel on multidistrict litigation randomly selected the US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit to consolidate all petitions. In all, there were 34 petitions in 12 different circuits. AGC of America has yet to receive information in regards to the next steps in the process.
OSHA Releases Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS)
November 4, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace. The ETS establishes binding requirements to protect employees of large employers (100 or more employees) from the risk of contracting COVID-19 in the workplace.
- Biden Administration Announces Details of two Major Vaccination Polices fact sheet
- Vaccination and Testing ETS landing page: https://www.osha.gov/coronavirus/ets2
- Full Vaccination and Testing ETS text: https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection/2021-23643/covid-19-vaccination-and-testing-emergency-temporary-standard
- Vaccination and Testing ETS fact sheet: https://www.osha.gov/sites/default/files/publications/OSHA4162.pdf
- Vaccination and Testing ETS FAQs: https://www.osha.gov/coronavirus/ets2/faqs
AGC of America COVID Vaccine Mandates Chapter Townhall November 4, 2021
COVID Vaccine Mandates Chapter Townhall pdf
Click here to access the recording.
EEOC Shares Internal Religious Accommodation Request Form October 28, 2021
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has provided the public with the EEOC’s own internal religious accommodation request form as a reference for employers and employees. While the EEOC’s internal forms typically are not made public, the EEOC shared this resource given the extraordinary circumstances employers and employees face due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The form is available here.
EEOC Issues Updated Covid-19 Technical Assistance October 29, 2021
Provides Additional Information on Religious Objections to Workplace Vaccine Requirements
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) posted updated and expanded technical assistance related to the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing questions about religious objections to employer COVID-19 vaccine requirements and how they interact with federal equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws.
Safer Federal Workforce Vaccine FAQ September 27, 2021
by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force, including: the White House COVID-19 Response Team, the General Services Administration (GSA), and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Task Force members include: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Federal Protective Service (FPS), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the United States Secret Service (USSS).
New CDC Study: Vaccination Offers Higher Protection than Previous COVID-19 Infection September 7, 2021
Click to read
COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate for Federal Contractors Update
September 29, 2021, provided by Woods Aitken
Who is a covered Federal Contractor and when must their employees be vaccinated.
Click to read
The U.S. COVID-19 Vaccination-Related Guidance May 28, 2021
OSHA Suspends Recordkeeping Enforcement of Adverse Reactions to Employer Mandated COVID-19 Vaccinations
DOL, OSHA, and other federal agencies are working diligently to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations. OSHA does not wish to discourage workers from receiving the vaccination, or disincentivize employers' vaccination efforts.
As a result, OSHA will NOT enforce 29 CFR 1904's recording requirements to require employers to record worker side effects from COVID-19 vaccination through May 2022.
For additional guidance on COVID-19 regulations, visit www.osha.gov/coronavirus
Health Director lifts mask mandate for Omaha February 16, 2022
Lancaster County issues Mask Mandate January 15, 2022 to February 11, 2022
City of Omaha issues COVID-19 Prevention Order Mask Requirements January 12, 2022
Lancaster County Mask Mandate expires December 23, 2021.
In November, when the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) extended the Directed Health Measure (DHM), they stated their intention for the mask requirement to remain in place one more month to give ample opportunity for everyone eligible to get vaccinated or receive boosters. This ensured parents and guardians could get their children ages 5 through 11 fully vaccinated.
Everyone now has had that opportunity. Because of this, the DHM will not be extended. This does not mean the pandemic is over, and it does not mean no more masks. Masks work to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
- LLCHD strongly recommends that people continue to wear masks indoors around other people from outside your household.
- LLCHD strongly recommends that businesses require their employees to wear masks.
- LLCHD strongly recommends mask wearing in schools.
- LLCHD strongly recommends wearing masks at indoor sporting events, theaters, gatherings of groups indoors including church and faith-based services.
Many businesses and venues will continue to require masks to protect the most vulnerable and their employees, and we ask the public to respect that decision. They are within their rights to require this without a mandate from the Health Department.
Mask mandate extended for Lancaster County until November 24 October 27, 2021
Mask mandate to continue for Lancaster County until end of October September 29, 2021
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — The COVID-19 Risk Dial for Lancaster County has dropped to Low Yellow, the lowest risk level the community has seen since the dial was launched a year ago.
With a drop in the risk dial, Lancaster County will be seeing new Direct Health Measures (DHMs) go into effect Friday, April 23.
The new DHMs include:
- The mask mandate is still in effect, but a new exception has been added. If a fully vaccinated person is in an area that is not open to the general public, like a private office or break room, they no longer have to wear masks.
- Limiting groups of individuals to eight and maintaining six feet of social distancing are no longer requirements, but recommendations for gatherings, youth activities and sports, food establishments and bars, barbershops, cosmetology establishments, cosmetologists and estheticians, body art facilities, and massage therapy.
- There is no longer a limit to the number of fans allowed per participant for youth sports, but occupancy is limited to 75% venue capacity.
- Events with an occupancy of more than 500 are still required to be approved by LLCHD.
- Capacity for restaurants, bars, and food service establishments is still capped at 75%, but limiting groups of individuals to eight and maintaining six feet of social distancing are no longer requirements, but recommendations.
- Gym occupancy continues to be capped at 75%, but limiting groups of individuals to eight and maintaining six feet of social distancing are no longer requirements, but recommendations.
Click here for a pdf of the complete Directed Health Measure.
50-State Chart on Vaccines, Exemptions, and Related State Issues from Fischer Philips, August 16, 2021
On Jan. 29, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued new guidance on protecting workers and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. Per OSHA, the guidance is not a standard or regulation, creates no new legal obligations and the recommendations are advisory in nature, informational in content, and are intended to assist employers in recognizing and abating hazards in the workplace. Click here for analysis from AGC of America highlighting the key differences in the recent guidance in comparison to previous guidance issued.
AGC of America's Coronavirus Safety Kit
This is a "sample plan" template for an Exposure Prevention, Preparedness, and Response Document. It was developed by CISC and AGCA. If you don't have one or need to review your, this is a good starting place.
In response to the present situation regarding the Coronavirus pandemic and the availability of COVID-19 vaccines, AGC of America (AGC) has recently produced several resources to assist member firms as they consider any vaccine policies. The following resources were developed by AGC and Fisher Phillips, one of the country’s largest labor and employment law firms dedicated to representing employers, and are FREE to AGC members:
- “Sticking Points: What Construction Employers Need To Know About COVID-19 Vaccines” WebEd playback--you must login with your AGC of America username and password to access.
- “Vaccination Q&As for Construction Employers” document
These resources are provided to inform AGC members about their rights and obligations under federal law so that they can make well-informed decisions when adopting employment policies and practices related to COVID-19 and other vaccinations. They are not intended to signify that AGC recommends employer vaccination mandates. AGC opposes government mandates requiring construction firms to require employee vaccination and supports construction firms’ freedom to choose the best approach for their individual businesses and workforces.
AGC/ABC Woods Aitken Webinar -- April 1, 2020 with Erin Ebeler-Rolf and Jerry Pigsley
Nebraska COVID-19 Legal Update: OSHA Guidelines & Interplay of FFFCRA
The most FAQ I’ve received the last few days: “Is there a list of precautions specific for the JOBSITE?”
There are a couple of documents on the AGCA microsite that are applicable to jobsites: the AGC ToolBox talk from the State of Washington with links, and another document from CDC titled, “Prepare Now.” I also like the ToolBox talk from my colleague in PA.
Doug Fletcher, Fletcher Safety and I did a little brainstorming on the FAQ and put together the following list of possible precautions and actions for jobsites:
- Encourage sick employees to stay home until recovered
- No visitors to jobsites or job trailer
- Arrange to have job trailer completely cleaned weekly
- Provide hand sanitizer, or wash stations with soap/paper towels in trailer and at stations on site
- Daily wipe down with sanitizing solution* all flat surfaced, door handles and exterior doorknob
- Don’t allow group or shared food on job sites (i.e. buffet lunches, multiple pizza boxes, etc.)
- Do not congregate in one eating area at lunch
- Provide tissue boxes close to trash cans
- Do not share tools
- Do not share personal protection equipment (PPE)
- Ensure used PPE is disposed of properly
- Sanitize reusable PPE per manufacturer’s directions prior to each use
- Disinfect reusable supplies and equipment
- Have all jobsite meetings in an open-air space as possible outdoors, go to a large space, anywhere but the job trailer. Keep as much space as possible between folks.
- Conduct frequent ToolBox talks on COVID-19 and what it means to the employee, their lives, the project. Emphasize the safety precautions will limit the amount of Influenzas A, flu, colds and other illnesses going around at this time of year as well. Make sure you document your ToolBox Talks on COVID-19.
- Figure out a way to disinfect port-a-johns on daily basis. Check possibility of sanitizing solution* in pump sprayer and give a spray down at end of day with time to disinfect and dry by next day. Don’t forget the exterior and interior door handle.
*Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. To disinfect: most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. Use disinfectants appropriate for the surface.
Disinfectant options include:
- Diluting household bleach. To make a bleach solution, mix: 1/3 cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or other cleaners. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.
- Alcohol solutions. Ensure solution has at least 70% alcohol.
- Other common EPA-registered household disinfectants approved emerging viral pathogens claims are expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow manufacturer’s directions.
Another FAQ to Jean: “What do we do if an employee on jobsite is sick?”
From the AGCA HR Forum the following was suggested earlier this week:
Managing Sick Employees:
- Actively encourage sick employees to stay home. Employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home and not return to work until they are free of fever (100.4° F [38.0° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants). Employees should notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
- Separate sick employees. CDC recommends that employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be separated from other employees and be sent home immediately.
- Communicate your company’s Human Resources practices for managing sick time related to COVID-19 to all employees.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES UPDATED 4-8-2020
The Safety Service Staff at AGC Houston is always very generous in sharing their resources. They documents are well researched and expertly produced. Thank you to Kim Mason and Staff for sharing the following:
MORE GOOD TOOLBOX TALKS -- COVID-19
AGC of America Toolbox Talks #1 posted April 7, 2020
AGC of America Toolbox Talks #1--Spanish Version posted April 8, 2020
AGC of America Toolbox Talks #2 posted April 7, 2020
AGC of America Toolbox Talks #2--Spanish Version posted April 8, 2020
AGC of America Toolbox Talks #3 posted April 7, 2020
AGC of America Toolbox Talks #3--Spanish Version posted April 8, 2020
AGCA 8-part Web Series--Navigating the Outbreak
Please contact the office if you have problems with the webinars.
March 24, 2020 Part II: What the Federal and Many State Labor and Employment Laws Are Likely to Require of You, as You Adjust Your Operations to Meet the Latest Contingencies
Watch Recording | Download Slides