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OSHA Accepting Additional Comments on COVID-19 Healthcare Standard

The U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently published a notice reopening the rulemaking record and scheduling an informal public hearing seeking comments on the development of a final standard to protect health care workers from workplace exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

By way of background, on June 21, 2021, OSHA issued an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to protect workers in health care settings from occupational exposure to COVID-19. The ETS – which also served as a proposed rule – focused on health care workers most likely to have contact with people infected with the virus.

Written comments on the reopened rulemaking are due by April 22, 2022. Individuals interested in testifying at the hearing can submit a notice of intent to appear within 14 days of the publication of the Federal Register notice, which is April 5th. The online hearing will begin on April 27, 2022 and continue on subsequent days if necessary.

The agency is reopening the rulemaking record to allow for new data and comments on topics including the following: 

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

Members can submit comments, testify, and/or provide LeadingAge NY with any comments. We will keep members apprised of developments.

Contact: Diane Darbyshire, ddarbyshire@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8828