OSHA FAQ for Students

Emergency Temporary Standard Regulations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace. The ETS establishes binding requirements for employers with more than 100 employees.

These new rules have been challenged in several lawsuits and are currently suspended. Eventually, we expect that the Supreme Court will have to rule on whether these regulations will go into effect. We don’t know how long that might take, and JBU doesn’t expect to take any action until the lawsuits are resolved.

A more detailed FAQ will be released if the regulations are approved by the courts.

Will the new OSHA rules apply to JBU?
Yes, because we have more than 100 employees. 

Will the new OSHA rules apply to JBU students?
Yes, if a JBU student works for JBU (hourly, work-study, or stipend), but the regulations will apply only when a student is working. 

What do the new OSHA rules require of JBU in relationship to their employees?
If the new rules go into effect as currently written, JBU has to make a choice between two options:

  1. draft a plan the requires all employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine; or
  2. draft a plan that does not require employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but sets up a system to have all unvaccinated employees take a COVID-19 test every week and to wear a mask when they are inside and when they are working.

What will JBU choose if the rule goes into effect?
JBU has always recommended, but not required, the COVID-19 vaccine. We believe the vaccine is effective, but we respect people’s right to make their own health decisions on this question. JBU will continue to follow that position. Accordingly, if the OSHA rules go into effect, we will choose option 2.

Practically what will that mean for JBU students?
Students who do not work for JBU will not be affected; the OSHA rules will not apply.

Vaccinated students who work for JBU will have to provide evidence to JBU of their vaccination (i.e. vaccine card) if they have not already. Once they do, no further action is necessary for them.

Unvaccinated students who work for JBU will be affected in two ways:

  • They will have to wear a mask, but only when they are working for JBU and only when they are inside. For most of our students, masking will be required for only 7-8 hours a week.
  • They will have to take a COVID-19 test every week. JBU will need to set up a system for administering those tests.

What happens if JBU doesn’t follow the OSHA rules?
We could be fined $13,600 for every violation of the rules. We could be fined $136,000 for “willful” violation of the rules. 

When will these rules take effect?
It all depends on when the lawsuits are resolved. If the lawsuits are resolved quickly, and if they uphold the OSHA rules, then, at the earliest, the masking requirements could start December 5 and the testing requirements could start January 4. Many people expect that it will take longer to resolve the lawsuits. 

How long will the rules last?
By law, these OSHA rules can only last for six months unless further actions are taken, so they would be over by May 5, 2022.