OSHA Penalties for the COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing ETS

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) COVID-19 vaccination and testing emergency temporary standard (ETS) prescribes specific measures employers covered by this standard must implement. This specificity will make it easier for OSHA to determine whether an employer has intentionally disregarded its obligations or exhibited a plain indifference to employee safety or health. In such instances, OSHA can classify the citations as ‘‘willful,’’ allowing it to propose higher penalties with increased deterrent effects.

In addition, OSHA has adopted its ‘‘egregious violation’’ policy to impose sufficiently large penalties to act as deterrents against bad-actor employers that willfully disregard their obligation to protect their employees when certain aggravating circumstances are present. Examples of willful disregard include large number of injuries or illnesses, bad faith or an extensive history of noncompliance.

Type of Violation




Posting Requirements


per violation

Failure to Abate


per day beyond the abatement date

Willful or



per violation

The egregious violation policy utilizes OSHA’s authority to issue a separate penalty for each instance of noncompliance with an OSHA standard. This approach could enable OSHA to penalize employers for each employee lacking the protections afforded to others or for every workstation lacking adequate protection controls.

The table on the left provides an overview of the penalties employers may be required to pay for ETS citations, subject to OSHA’s discretion.

View Infographic