OSHA’s new COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard for the health care industry


stethoscope and covid form

The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued its highly anticipated COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for the health care industry on June 10, 2021. The ETS is effective upon publication in the Federal Register (pending), and then covered health care employers have 14 days (or in some cases 30 days) to comply with its requirements.   

The ETS applies to all settings where any employee provides health care services or health care support services, with certain exceptions. It requires covered health care employers to implement various measures to protect workers from COVID-19, including:

  • A written COVID-19 plan that includes a designated safety coordinator, among various other requirements
  • Employee health screening and medical management
  • Reasonable time off and paid leave for vaccinations and vaccine side effects
  • Employee training
  • Patient and visitor screening and limited points of entry
  • Policies and procedures to ensure adherence to CDC Standard and Transmission-Based precautions
  • Limited exposure to aerosol-generating procedures for persons with suspected or confirmed COVID-19
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), social distancing, physical barriers and cleaning and disinfection and protocols

OSHA has indicated that it will use its enforcement discretion for employers who are making a good faith effort to comply with the ETS.  

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