The Energy Workforce and Technology Council’s HSE, HR and Government Affairs Committees hosted a COVID-19 vaccine townhall last week to cover a wide range of topics focused around the COVID response in the industry.
Participants from more than 40 companies listened to updates on COVID news, engaged with legal experts on what to expect in the next coming weeks, and had an open discussion on industry best practices. This townhall was the first in a series of meetings to help develop and disseminate those best practice recommendations.
The session opened up with a global COVID news update, including:
- Texas Lawsuit – A Texas bill announced by Gov. Greg Abbott to block COVID-19 vaccine mandates for employers failed in the Texas Legislature after business groups rallied against it.
- Mix and Match Booster Update – The FDA will allow Americans to receive a different COVID-19 vaccine as a booster from the one they initially received.
- Case Count – The number of daily cases in the U.S. has dropped 50% since September 1, with a 43% drop in hospitalizations and a 21% drop in daily deaths.
- OSHA Progress – OSHA submitted the initial text of an emergency temporary standard to the Office of Management and Budget.
- Federal Worker/Contractor Timeline – President Biden’s order sets a November 22 deadline for federal employees and contractors to receive a final vaccine dose.
- New York – Mayor Bill De Blasio announced a blanket vaccination mandate for all New York City workers.
- Southwest Airlines – Southwest dropped their plan to put unvaccinated staff on unpaid leave starting in December.
- Canada Launches Vaccine Passport – The digital document will have a QR code for scanning at airports, train stations and other points of entry.
- Maine Lobster – An Oxford study found that pro-China social media accounts are pushing new propaganda that Maine lobsters are related to the origins of the pandemic.
Christian Antkowiak, Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney PC, recommended that each company should prepare a COVID protocol in advance, regardless of any legal progress on mandates within their state.
“You really need to start to prepare, even if you have a strong belief about whether or not this rule will ultimately withstand muster and be challenged in the courts. I don’t think you should bank on the ETS being struck down as part of any litigation.”Christian Antkowiak, Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney PC
Member Companies also had an opportunity to engage in an open conversation about their company’s best practices regarding COVID-19 reporting protocols. Several topics that were examined in the discussion included:
- Voluntary disclosure of COVID-19 vaccination status by employees
- Companies placing employees who have not gotten their first shot on unpaid leave
- Methods of increasing the vaccination rates of employees in the field through monetary and PTO incentives
- Examining the cost of routine testing to the employer
The next virtual townhall is set for November 5. Register today!
For more information about the HSE Committee, contact Council COO Molly Determan.
Phillip DeBauche, Director, Environmental and Technical, writes about the Council’s environmental efforts. Click here to subscribe to the Council’s newsletter, which highlights industry practices, workforce development, Council activities and more.