OSHA Issues Updated Guidance For Employers And A Temporary Standard For Healthcare Employers
June 14, 2021
On June 10, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released updated guidance for employers to address protecting unvaccinated and at-risk employees under the current guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
OSHA explains that except as required by local or state rules, the new standard for healthcare employers (see below), and mask requirements for public transportation, “most employers no longer need to take steps to protect their workers from COVID-19 exposure in any workplace, or well-defined portions of a workplace, where all employees are fully vaccinated.” However, employers “should still take steps to protect unvaccinated or otherwise at-risk workers in their workplaces, or well-defined portions of workplaces.”
OSHA’s updated guidance sets forth several measures employers should continue to engage in for unvaccinated and at-risk employees, including encouraging vaccination, keeping workers home when they are sick/symptomatic or when unvaccinated workers have had close contact with COVID-19, physical distancing for unvaccinated/at-risk workers in all communal work areas, face coverings, cleaning, education and training, and recording and reporting COVID-19 infections and deaths. The updated guidance provides additional measures for “higher-risk workplaces” – those where the working conditions put workers at a heightened risk for COVID-19 exposure, such as manufacturing, meat processing, high-volume retail and grocery, and seafood processing workplaces.
OSHA has also issued an emergency temporary standard (ETS) that establishes new requirements for employers that provide healthcare services or healthcare support services, including hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, emergency responders, and home healthcare. The mandatory requirements of the ETS are effective immediately upon publication in the Federal Register, and covered employers must comply with most provisions within 14 days.
We encourage all employers to carefully review the federal OSHA’s new materials. We will keep you updated on these matters and any corresponding publication from NV OSHA. KZA attorneys are available to assist you with any questions you have about these new federal guidelines and requirements.
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