OSHA Withdraws Healthcare ETSLast week The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) updated its website to withdraw the non-record keeping portions of the healthcare emergency temporary standards (ETS) issued in June. The ETS is no longer in effect, however, the record keeping requirements in the ETS will continue as they were adopted under another section of the OSHA Act.
OSHA intends to issue a final standard in the coming months that will incorporate much of the June ETS. Meanwhile OSHA strongly encourages all health care employers to continue to implement the ETS's requirements and notes they will continue enforcement of COVID safety standards through the general duty clause. For details on the June ETS, see AHCA/NCAL's summary.
Due to the withdrawal of the June healthcare ETS, health care employers, including all assisted living, nursing or other long term care providers, are now subject to OSHA's vaccine mandate ETS. At this time the vaccine mandate ETS is effective, with a January 7, 2022 hearing before the United States Supreme Court. The OSHA vaccine mandate would apply to those providers also covered by CMS's vaccine mandate interim final rule, should the government prevail and the IFR be implemented. The CMS IFR is not being enforced pending a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court, also set for January 7, 2022.
The OSHA vaccine ETS includes an option for testing unvaccinated employees (the CMS IFR does not). OSHA will not issue citations for noncompliance with any requirements of the ETS before January 10 and will not issue citations for noncompliance with the testing requirements before February 9, so long as an employer is exercising reasonable, good faith efforts to come into compliance with the standard. OSHA notes that it plans to work closely with employers to provide compliance assistance.
MHCA will continue to provide updates on these requirements. Please watch for an announcement of educational information on OSHA's vaccine and testing requirement from AHCA/NCAL in the coming weeks.
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