May 18, 2021

OSHA Defers to CDC Mask Guidance for Vaccinated Workers

On Monday, May 17, 2021, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) updated its website to reflect that employers should refer to recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding fully vaccinated people. According to OSHA, it is still “reviewing the recent CDC guidance and will update [its] materials on [its] website accordingly. Until those updates are complete, please refer to the CDC guidance for information on measures appropriate to protect fully vaccinated workers.” The CDC guidance reflects that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks or physically distance except where otherwise required by federal, state or local law.

OSHA has, for the time being at least, resolved confusion over any apparent conflict between the recent CDC guidance and OSHA’s prior guidance recommending face coverings in the workplace. Employers should note, however, that the CDC’s guidance applies only to non-health-care settings. Furthermore, the CDC guidance is not applicable on planes, buses, trains or other forms of public transportation. OSHA will likely issue new guidance in the coming days or weeks, so employers should keep an eye out for additional updates.

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