The South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations (SDAHO) hosted a webinar with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Office (OSHA) on Tuesday March 7, 2022. John Olaechea the Compliance Assistance Specialist for OSHA in Region VIII facilitated the webinar focusing on newer OSHA policies, regulations and resources that may relate to the healthcare industry.
Olaechea told participants that OSHA has announced an enforcement memorandum for a short-term increase in highly focused inspections directed at hospitals and skilled nursing care facilities that treat or handle COVID-19 patients. OSHA’s goal is to expand its presence to ensure continued mitigation to control the spread of COVID-19 and future variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and protect the health and safety of healthcare workers at heightened risk for contracting the virus.
The agency will be initiating focused inspections to emphasize monitoring for current and future readiness to protect workers from COVID-19. Follow-up inspections will be conducted at sites that were previously issued citations, as well as where complaints were received but the agency did not conduct in-person inspections.
OSHA intends to expand its presence in targeted high-hazard healthcare facilities during a three-month period from March 9, 2022 to June 9, 2022. Through this focused enforcement initiative, the agency will verify and assess hospital and skilled nursing care employers’ compliance actions taken, including their readiness to address any ongoing or future COVID-19 surges.
This initiative supplements OSHA’s targeted enforcement under the Revised COVID-19 National Emphasis Program [DIR 2021-03 (CPL 03)] by conducting focused follow-up and monitoring inspections of previously inspected or investigated hospitals and skilled nursing care facilities within four North American Industry Classification System codes listed in the memorandum where COVID-19 citations or Hazard Alert Letters were issued, including remote-only inspections where COVID-19-related citations were issued.
To view the full press release from the US Department of Labor on OSHA’s additional inspections for hospitals and nursing care facilities, click here.
SDAHO Members can access the recording of this webinar through the education portal, click here.