OSHA Seeking Comments on Standard to Protect Health Care Workers From COVID-19

March 28, 2022

Although COVID-19 hospitalization rates have decreased in many areas across the country, health care workers, including environmental services staff, continue to be at risk of contracting the virus at work. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has scheduled a public hearing to seek comments on topics related to a final standard to protect health care and health care support service workers from exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The online hearing will begin on April 27, 2022. Individuals interested in testifying must submit their notice of intention to appear by April 6 and submit written comments by April 22.

The final standard takes the place of an emergency temporary standard (ETS) OSHA issued in June 2021. OSHA is reopening the rulemaking record for new data and comments on a variety of topics including:

  • Alignment of the final standard with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) recommendations for health care infection control procedures
  • Protocols for interactions with people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19
  • Employer support for employees who wish to be vaccinated
  • COVID-19 recordkeeping and reporting provisions
  • The creation of requirements based on community transmission levels
  • The potential evolution of SARS-CoV-2 into a second novel strain
  • The health effects and risk of COVID-19 since the ETS was issued.

As OSHA works towards a permanent regulatory solution, employers must continue to comply with their obligations to protect their employees against the hazard of COVID-19 in the workplace, such as supplying workers with personal protective equipment.

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