OSHA Issues Emergency Temporary Standard for Healthcare and Updated Guidance for All Industries

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Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant | Briggs Healthcare


OSHA has issued an emergency temporary standard that requires employers to help protect healthcare workers in settings where suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients are treated. This final rule is 44 pages in length.

OSHA issues an emergency temporary standard (ETS) under limited circumstances. The agency must determine that workers are exposed to a grave danger from new hazards or toxic substances or agents determined to be physically harmful and that an ETS is needed to protect them. Once published in the Federal Register, an ETS takes effect immediately and remains in effect until replaced by a permanent standard. The ETS also serves as a proposal for a permanent standard and is subject to the usual notice and comment rulemaking procedure for adopting a permanent standard except that it must be finalized within six months. State Plans are required to have an ETS that is at least as effective as an ETS issued by federal OSHA 30 days following publication. OSHA’s newly published ETS to protect healthcare workers from COVID-19 is the first one issued in 38 years.

OSHA also issued updated guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace to protect workers. 

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