On June 21, 2021, OSHA adopted a Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard (Healthcare ETS) protecting workers from COVID-19 in settings where they provide healthcare or healthcare support services.Butgiven that OSHA anticipates a final rule cannot be completed in a timeframe approaching the one contemplated by the OSH Act, the administration announced that it is withdrawing the non-recordkeeping portions of the healthcare ETS.
The COVID-19 log and reporting provisions remain in effect. OSHA recently announced that it intends to continue to work expeditiously to issue a final standard that will protect healthcare workers from COVID-19 hazards, and will do so as it also considers its broader infectious disease rulemaking.
With the rise of the delta variant this fall and now the spread of the omicron variant this winter, OSHA says believes the danger faced by healthcare workers continues to be of the highest concern, and measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are still needed to protect them. Given these facts and its anticipated finalization of this rule, OSHA encourages all healthcare employers to continue to implement the ETS’s requirements in order employees from a hazard that too often causes death or serious physical harm to employees.
As OSHA works towards a permanent regulatory solution, it will vigorously enforce the general duty clause and its general standards, including the personal protective equipment (PPE) and respiratory protection standards to help protect healthcare employees from the hazard of COVID-19. The respiratory protection standard applies to personnel providing care to persons who are suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19.