OSHA Posts Resources for Enforcement of New ETS Requiring COVID-19 Plans

Situation Report | July 20, 2021

HCA wants to ensure that members are aware of a compliance directive issued by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) designed to ensure uniform inspection and enforcement procedures for its Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to protect health care workers from occupational exposures to COVID-19.

The directive provides OSHA compliance safety and health officers with guidance and procedures on how to enforce the standard’s requirements for:

  • A written COVID-19 plan
  • Patient/Non-employee screening and management
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Aerosol-generating procedures
  • Physical distancing and barriers
  • Cleaning, disinfecting and ventilation
  • Employee health screening, medical management, vaccination and training
  • Anti-retaliation
  • Recordkeeping and reporting to OSHA

OSHA has also posted helpful materials, including a COVID-19 Plan Template, COVID-19 Healthcare Worksite Checklist & Employee Job Hazard Analysis, Employee Training Presentation, Sample Employee COVID-19 Health Screening Questionnaire, Frequently Asked Questions and more.

As described in the June 14 Situation Report, the rule establishes new requirements, including development and implementation of an effective COVID-19 plan, for settings where employees provide health care or health care support services. The rule applies to skilled nursing homes and home health care, with some exemptions for health care providers where all employees are vaccinated and all non-employees are screened prior to entry, and people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not present.

The ETS became effective June 21, 2021. Employers must have complied with most provisions by July 6, 2021, and with training, ventilation, and barrier provisions by July 21, 2021.

HCA held a webinar on July 13 that reviewed the ETS rule and the New York HERO Act, both of which include some similar provisions.