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OSHA Clarifies Healthcare Employer Obligations Regarding COVID-19 Hazard

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On December 27, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a Statement clarifying the status of the OSHA COVID-19 Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard (Healthcare ETS) that was originally issued on June 21, 2021 and expired on December 21, 2021. The expiration of the Healthcare ETS without the issuance of a permanent standard caused uncertainty among healthcare employers regarding future compliance obligations and OSHA’s enforcement intentions relating to COVID-19 hazards.

Healthcare employer compliance obligations regarding COVID-19 hazard

According to OSHA’s Statement, the Healthcare ETS is withdrawn, except for certain recordkeeping and reporting provisions, while OSHA continues to prepare a permanent standard to protect healthcare workers from infectious diseases, including COVID-19 hazards. In the interim, OSHA intends to enforce the General Duty Clause and its general standards, including the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Respiratory Protection standards to help protect healthcare workers from COVID-19 hazards. OSHA’s Statement indicated that compliance by healthcare employers with the terms of the expired Healthcare ETS will satisfy their obligations under the General Duty Clause, Respiratory Protection and PPE standards. OSHA anticipates that it will publish a notice in the Federal Register consistent with its Statement shortly.

OSHA enforcement deadlines

OSHA’s Statement advised that […]

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