On June 10, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an emergency temporary standard (ETS) workplace safety rule that requires health care employers to protect workers from on-the-job risk of COVID-19 infection. This rule follows President Biden’s executive order directing OSHA to pursue an ETS for COVID-19 in high-risk workplaces. The rule does not apply to other high-risk workplaces such as meatpacking plants, grocery stores, and high-volume retail locations, but OSHA plans to issue updated guidance for such employers. The ETS takes effect upon publication in the Federal Register and requires health care employers to comply with most of the safety standards within 14 days of publication.
The rule applies to health care employers in all settings where any employee provides health care services (services provided by professional health care practitioners) or health care support services (patient admission, food services, equipment and facility maintenance, housekeeping, laundry, medical waste handling, medical equipment cleaning). The rule does not apply to the following:
The ETS requires the health care employer to take the following actions:
The ETS and the above requirements are limited to a duration of six months, during which OSHA must complete a permanent standard. We will apprise you of any changes in the above requirements once the permanent standard is published.