OSHA’s COVID-19 Standard …. Finally! New Emergency Temporary Standard Limited to Healthcare Sector

Ruder Ware

On Thursday, June 10, 2021, OSHA finally issued its long-delayed COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) which is effective immediately. However, it applies only to the healthcare sector. Applicable employers must comply with most provisions within 14 days and with the remaining provisions within 30 days. The full guidance can be found here.

Who Does it Apply To? The ETS applies to employees in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, emergency responders, home healthcare workers, and employees in ambulatory care facilities where suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients are treated. OSHA has created a flow chart, to help determine whether an employer is covered by the new ETS. To review the flow chart, click here.

If you do not fit into this category, then there is currently nothing new for you on the OSHA front, continue to do what you have been doing. If you do fit within the category, keep reading!

What is Required: The Emergency Temporary Standard includes specific requirements for the employer. Below is a summary of the requirements which must be implemented at no cost to the employee. Check out the Summary Sheet for details regarding each requirement to ensure you are in compliance.

  • COVID-19 plan
  • Patient screening
  • Standard and transmission-based precautions
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Aerosol-generating procedures on persons with suspected or confirmed COVID-19
  • Physical distancing
  • Physical barriers
  • Cleaning and disinfection
  • Ventilation
  • Health screening and medical management
  • Vaccination
  • Training
  • Anti-Retaliation

Employees who are fully vaccinated are exempt from the masking, distancing, and barrier requirements when in well-defined areas where there is no reasonable expectation that any person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 will be present.

Recordkeeping: Employers with over 10 employees must establish a log of all employee instances of COVID-19 without regard to occupational exposure.

Reporting Fatalities: Employers must report to OSHA each work-related COVID-19 fatality within 8 hours of learning about the fatality and each work-related in-patient hospitalization within 24 hours of learning about the in-patient hospitalization.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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