Effective Date Announced for New COVID-19 Safety Rule for Healthcare Providers

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OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard imposes new COVID-19 requirements on healthcare providers.  Employers must comply with most provisions by July 6, 2021.

In January 2021, President Joe Biden issued an Executive Order directing the Department of Labor (“DOL”) to consider issuing an Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) addressing COVID-19.  After numerous delays, the final ETS was issued on June 10, 2021, and addresses what healthcare employers, who are not excluded from its application, must do to protect workers from COVID-19.  For more details on applicability of the ETS and its requirements, see the prior Burr Alert on this topic.

Effective Date and Compliance

The ETS was immediately effective upon publication in the Federal Register, which occurred on June 21, 2021.  Employers must comply with all provisions of the ETS except physical barriers, ventilation, and training by July 6, 2021.  Employers must comply with physical barriers, ventilation, and training requirements by July 21, 2021.

Employers that meet the definition of a “healthcare provider” under the ETS should immediately review the requirements of the ETS to assess compliance.  Employers that could be excluded from the definition of a “healthcare provider” if certain steps are taken (e.g., all employees are fully vaccinated) should consider what steps they should take and what steps they are legally permitted to take. Employers must also be prepared to comply with the relatively short deadlines set forth in the ETS, which are July 6, 2021, and July 21, 2021. 

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