OSHA Releases New COVID-19 Rules for Healthcare Industry

Posted July 14, 2021

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) with the stated goal of protecting healthcare workers who come into regular contact with COVID-19. The ETS applies only to healthcare employers and includes any setting where an employee is providing healthcare services or support, such as hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and also includes emergency responders and home healthcare workers. The rule, which has an effective date of June 21, 2021, also applies to non-hospital ambulatory care settings, such as physician offices, unless an exemption applies. OSHA has developed a flowchart to help employers determine if the ETS is applicable in their workplace.

Some of the key ETS requirements include:

  • Providing paid time off for employees to get vaccinated and recover from any side effects
  • Developing and implementing a COVID-19 plan
  • Providing and ensuring employees wear face masks and other necessary personal protective equipment
  • Implementing physical distancing and installing physical barriers where six feet of separation is not possible
  • Ensuring ventilation systems are regularly serviced and working properly
  • Training employees about COVID-19 and the employer’s COVID-19 policies and procedures
  • Reporting work-related COVID-19 fatalities and hospitalizations to OSHA

Healthcare employers should review the following resources to ensure they meet all of the requirements:

Additionally, Kentucky Safe has released an in-depth webinar recording on the Occupational Exposure to COVID-19 Emergency Standard for Healthcare (push the play button in the bottom left corner to start the video.)