In response to President Biden’s Executive Order issued on January 21, 2021, directing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to take action to reduce the risk that workers may contract COVID-19 in the workplace, OSHA has issued an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to set forth guidelines to protect healthcare workers.
Effective June 21, 2021, the ETS applies only to settings where any employee provides healthcare services or healthcare support services. The masking, distancing, and barrier requirements under the ETS do not apply to settings with well-defined areas where all employees are fully vaccinated and there is no reasonable expectation that any person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 will be present. OSHA has provided a flowchart to determine which workplaces are affected.
Develop and implement a COVID-19 plan: Employers are required to develop and implement a plan to combat COVID-19. This plan must be in writing if there are more than 10 employees. Employers must conduct hazard assessments for each specific workplace to identify potential COVID-19 hazards and designate a safety coordinator with the authority to ensure compliance with all aspects of the plan.
Limit and monitor points of entry: In workplaces where direct patient care is provided, employers must limit and monitor points of entry. Patients, clients, residents, and other visitors must also be screened and triaged. Other patient management strategies must be implemented per CDC guidance.