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COVID-19 and health care workers: OSHA trying again on proposed rule

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Washington — OSHA is reopening its rulemaking record on a proposed final rule on COVID-19 focused on health care workers and will host a virtual public hearing next month.

Anyone wanting to testify during the hearing – scheduled for April 27 – must submit a Notice of Intention to Appear by April 6. OSHA says the event will continue on subsequent days, if necessary. The agency, which adopted an emergency temporary standard on COVID-19 focused on health care workers in June, is also seeking new comments and data on:

  • Additional flexibility for employers
  • Alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations for health care infection control procedures
  • Employer support for employees who want to be vaccinated
  • COVID-19 recordkeeping and reporting provisions
  • Tailoring controls to address interactions with people with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19
  • Triggering requirements based on community transmission levels
  • Removal of scope exemptions
  • Limited coverage of construction activities in health care settings
  • The potential evolution of SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 – into a second novel strain
  • The health effects and risk of COVID-19 since the ETS was issued

The deadline to comment is April 22.

 

OSHA withdrew the non-recordkeeping portions of the ETS on Dec. 27.

“As OSHA works toward a permanent regulatory solution, employers must continue to comply with their obligations under the General Duty Clause, personal protective equipment and respiratory protection standards, as well as other applicable OSHA standards, to protect their employees against the hazard of COVID-19 in the workplace,” the agency says in a press release.

Compliance assistance and other information is available at osha.gov/coronavirus/ets.

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