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US OSHA pursues proposed final rule to protect healthcare workers from COVID



United States Publication March 2022

The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has reopened the rulemaking record and scheduled an informal public hearing concerning its development of a final standard to protect healthcare and healthcare support service workers from workplace COVID exposures.

Written comments must be submitted by April 22, 2022. Submit comments online, identified by Docket No. OSHA-2020-0004. Anyone wishing to testify at the hearing must submit a notice of intention to appear no later than 14 days after the publication of the Federal Register Notice. The online hearing begins on April 27, 2022.

In particular, OSHA is seeking comments on the following:

  • Alignment of the proposed standard with the CDC’s recommended healthcare infection control procedures
  • Additional flexibility for employers in how to respond
  • Tailoring controls to address interactions with those suspected or confirmed to have COVID
  • Employer support for employees wanting to be vaccinated
  • Coverage of construction activities in the healthcare setting
  • COVID recordkeeping and reporting requirements
  • Potential evolution of COVID into novel strains
  • Health risks of COVID since OSHA’s original Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard was issued

OSHA reminds employers to continue complying with their obligations under the General Duty Clause, Personal Protective Equipment and Respiratory Protection Standards to protect their employees from COVID hazards.

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