Alert: OSHA Issues Emergency Temporary Standard on Protecting Healthcare Workers From COVID-19

June 17, 2021

On June 10, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) released an emergency temporary standard (“ETS”) that establishes new requirements for certain healthcare employers to safeguard their employees from COVID-19 infection.

Overall, the ETS will apply to any employee who provides healthcare services or healthcare support services, and is limited to the healthcare industry.  Based on the criteria, the ETS should only apply to hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, emergency responders, and home health, and does not extend to other industries (“Covered Employers”).  The ETS does not apply to workplaces that provide healthcare services or healthcare support services provided that (1) it is a non-hospital ambulatory care setting, (2) ALL non-employees are screen prior to entry, and (3) people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not permitted to enter.  As such, at this time, these new standards will not apply to typical medical clinics that follows these rules.  For example medical spas, IV hydration bars, weight loss clinics, wellness clinics and other elective medicine businesses.  OSHA has released this helpful chart to help confirm if ETS applies to your practice.

The ETS requires Covered Employers to conduct an assessment to identify potential workplace hazards related to COVID-19 and develop policies and procedure to minimize the spread of the virus. Covered Employers also must provide some employees with medical procedure masks, respirators or other personal protective equipment depending on the facility and types of patients treated.  Additionally, the ETS also allows healthcare workers to get paid-time off for vaccinations and recovery from any side effects.

Covered Employers must comply with most provisions of the ETS within 14 days of its publication in the Federal Register and will have a 30-day window to comply with the remaining provisions. The final rule has been submitted to the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) for publication, and is currently pending placement on public inspection at the OFR and publication in the Federal Register.  However, OSHA did not indicate when the standard would be published.

At ByrdAdatto we are working hard to ensure our clients are well equipped and ready for operating their business. If you have questions regarding this alert, reach out to info@byrdadatto.com or call 214.291.3200.

ByrdAdatto founding partner Brad Adatto

Bradford E. Adatto

Brad decided to become a lawyer during sixth-grade Career Day, when he promised to represent his best friend, a future doctor. A few decades later, he started his own law firm that focused on representing health care and corporate clients.