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OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard Publishes in the Federal Register, Triggering Compliance Deadlines for Healthcare Employers

June 24, 2021

On Monday, June 21, 2021, OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (the “ETS”), directed at healthcare employers, was published in the Federal Register.  This publication triggers a number of deadlines for compliance with various aspects of the ETS, beginning 14 days from publication.  Specifically, as of July 5, 2021, employers must adopt certain safety measures to “minimiz[e] employees’ exposure to COVID-19.”  Required measures include developing and implementing a COVID-19 plan and workplace hazard assessment and ensuring the safety of workers by providing and requiring face masks (and personal protective equipment, if necessary), physical distancing, screenings for COVID-19 symptoms, and implementing cleaning and disinfection practices.  Importantly, the ETS also requires that employers provide paid time off for employees to get vaccinated and recover from any side effects.

Many employers will have already implemented a significant portion of these safety measures or other policies as part of their own efforts to address COVID-19 hazards in the workplace.  OSHA anticipates that, even for the employers who have not previously implemented any of the required standards, these measures can be implemented within the 14-day period as they “do not require extensive lead times to implement.”

For the measures that OSHA anticipates will take longer to address, employers have 30 days from publication to comply.  By July 21, 2021, employers must install cleanable or disposable barriers outside of direct patient care areas, where physical distancing is not possible, ensure proper ventilation through HVAC systems and filter maintenance, and train workers regarding COVID-19 safety policies and virus transmission in the workplace.

For additional information, please see our prior alert at OSHA Releases Highly Anticipated Safety Rule for Healthcare Employers and Updated Guidance for All Employers.

For more information, please contact the professional(s) listed below, or your regular Crowell & Moring contact.

Thomas P. Gies
Partner – Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1.202.624.2690
Daniel W. Wolff
Partner – Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1.202.624.2621
Katie Erno
Counsel – Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1.202.624.2926
Rachel Lesser
Associate – Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1.202.624.2572