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OSHA issues COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards for Healthcare Facilities

​On Thursday, June 10, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an emergency temporary standard (ETS) for occupational exposure to COVID-19 that requires healthcare employers to take action to protect their workers in settings where suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients are treated, including hospitals, nursing facilities, assisted living, EMS, home health, and other ambulatory care settings. The ETS exempts fully vaccinated workers from masking, distancing, and barrier requirements when working in “well-defined areas” where there is no reasonable expectation that any person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 will be present.

 

The key requirements of the ETS are:

  • COVID-19 Plan to Identify and Control COVID-19 Hazards in the Workplace
  • Patient Screening and Monitoring
  • Employee Health Screening and Medical Management of COVID-19 Among Staff
  • Standard and Transmission-Based Precautions
  • PPE, Physical Distancing, and Physical Barriers
  • Cleaning and Disinfection
  • Ventilation
  • Reasonable Time and Paid Leave for Vaccinations and Side Effects
  • Establish a COVID-19 Log of Employee COVID-19 and Occupational Exposure and Make Records Available
  • Report Work-Related COVID-19 Fatalities and In-patient Hospitalizations to OSHA
  • Employee Training and Notification of Rights to Protections under the ETS and Anti-Retaliation Protections

All requirements must be implemented at no cost to employees. OSHA has posted summaries, fact sheets, and compliance assistance materials and tools. The ETS also incorporates by reference a number of consensus standards and evidence-based guidelines developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Environmental Protection Agency and the American National Standards Institute.

The ETS, which was released as an interim final rule, is effective immediately upon publication in the Federal Register. Employers must comply with most provisions within 14 days of publication in the Federal Register, and with the remaining provisions within 30 days.

Comments on the ETS are due within 30 days of publication in the Federal Register. SDAHO plans to compile member concerns and comments on the ETS to submit to OSHA. Please send any comments or concerns to Sarah Aker at sarah.aker@sdaho.org

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