On Tuesday, the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation announced its intent to develop a general OSHA standard intended to address workplace hazards from all infectious diseases in the workplace. The agency said that the new standard will replace federal OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard for healthcare employers, which is already in effect in South Carolina.
The release states that SCOSHA believes that employers in that state need a more flexible and stable regulatory standard that provides an alternative approach than that adopted by federal OSHA. The release does not contain specifics about what this rule will contain, or when South Carolina employers can expect it to be issued.
Under the terms of its state plan authorization, any safety standard adopted by SCOSHA must be at least as effective as that issued by federal OSHA. If federal OSHA concludes that the state’s rules do not meet this standard for the healthcare industry, it could take legal action against the state, including an attempt to revoke its authorization to administer its own OSHA plan.