OSHA released new COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) for health-care settings on June 10, including physician offices, hospitals, and outpatient centers, and nursing homes, among others. The intent of the ETS is to protect workers in health-care settings where suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients are treated. The ETS are effective upon publication in the Federal Register, which will likely occur on or around June 22.
There are, however, exceptions to the ETS. For example, OSHA exempts fully vaccinated workers from masking, distancing, and barrier requirements when in well-defined areas where there is no reasonable expectation that any person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 will be presented. OSHA created a flow chart to help understand if your health-care setting is covered and/or exempted from these new standards.
For health-care settings that are not exempted, the ETS require employers with more than 10 employees to develop a COVID-19 plan, designate a COVID-19 safety coordinator, provide PPE, and enact physical distancing and barriers if distancing is not possible. Other requirements include, but are not limited to, providing paid leave for employees to get vaccinated and for employees experiencing any side effects.
Covered employers must comply with most provisions within 14 days of the effective date, and with the remaining provisions within 30 days.