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healthcare employee giving vaccination under new OSHA ETS ruling

Healthcare OSHA ETS: Everything You Need To Know

On June 10, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued mandatory workplace safety guidelines to help protect healthcare workers from the ongoing threat of COVID-19. Once in effect, the new ruling will remain in place for a minimum of six months, after which OSHA may consider permanent rule updates. 

The new ruling asks employers in healthcare organizations to comply with regulations to keep workers safe, reduce the risk of transmission, and maintain accurate records. While many organizations will likely have had many of these policies in place, previous standards were voluntary, whereas now they are an enforceable federal mandate. 

Here are the key points you need to know about the new OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) guidelines and how Go Evo’s digital screening solution can help:

Who is Affected?

The COVID-19 OSHA ETS applies to all settings where a worker provides healthcare services. This includes hospitals, nursing homes or assisted living facilities, hospices, home healthcare workers, and emergency responders.

Are There Exceptions?

This ETS exempts fully vaccinated workers from masking, distancing, and barrier requirements where there is no reasonable expectation of COVID-19 exposure.

Most healthcare settings are included under the new ruling, but if you’re unsure if the healthcare OSHA ETS covers your workplace, use this flow chart for confirmation.

How Long Do Organizations Have to Comply?

The ETS will come into effect once it is published in the Federal Register, likely within the next two weeks. After publication, organizations have 14 days to comply with most provisions. Organizations will have 30 days to comply with regulations involving physical barriers, ventilation, and training.

Enforcement officers will also be able to use their discretion for employers making a good faith effort to comply.

What Are the OSHA ETS Requirements?

  • COVID-19 Plan: All employers must develop, implement, and regularly update a COVID-19 plan. If they employ over 10 employees, the plan must be in written form. Employers must complete a workplace hazard assessment, and non-managerial employees must have input in the assessment development.

Our Personal Protective App (PPA) includes a document center where organizations can easily house valuable health and safety information accessible by all employees.

  • Patient Screening & Management: All entry points to settings where patient care is provided must be limited and monitored. Patient management strategies must be in place, including screening and triaging of patients, clients, and other visitors and non-employees. 

The PPA platform comes with a visitor screening module at no extra cost and allows organizations to track and screen anyone who enters the facility.

  • Health Screening & Medical Management: Each employee must complete a health screening before each day and shift. This includes digital self-screening and self-monitoring methods like the PPA app. Employees must also notify employers of positive test results, suspected exposure, or relevant symptoms.

    Employers must then notify all workers who may have been in close contact with a confirmed exposure. More information on when employers must remove employees from the workplace, require isolation/quarantine, or provide benefits can be found here.

  • Standard and Transmission-Based Precautions: All employers must develop and implement policies and procedures to meet all CDC guidelines.

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Employees must wear a facemask while indoors or operating a work vehicle with other passengers. Employers must ensure workers use respirators and PPE when exposed to people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. 

There are exceptions for fully vaccinated employees, employees alone in a room, and those eating and drinking 6 feet apart from others.

  • Recordkeeping: If an organization has more than 10 people, employers must establish a COVID-19 log and make records available that track all employee instances of COVID-19. 

The PPA platform replaces the need for an additional COVID-19 log. Every screening, test result, and vaccine record can be accessed in real-time, anywhere, anytime. 

  • Physical Distancing: Workers must remain six feet apart when indoors, and physical barriers must be in place outside of direct patient care unless it is not possible.
     
  • Cleaning & Disinfection: Employers must perform specific cleaning measures in patient care areas and patient rooms. Cleaning in all other rooms must happen daily and after a confirmed COVID-19 case.

  • Ventilation: Employers who own or maintain their building must maximize ventilation and ensure HVAC systems are set per manufacturer instructions.

  • Vaccination: Employers must provide time and paid leave for employees who want to receive a COVID-19 vaccination or are recovering from vaccine side effects.

  • Training: Employees must receive training on all COVID-19 health and safety policies and procedures.

You can find the full details of the new OSHA ETS guidelines here. If you’re concerned your organization falls under this ruling, but you aren’t compliant or would like to improve or update your current processes, speak with our screening experts today. Over the last year, we’ve been working with clients across the healthcare industry to ensure they’re keeping workplaces safe and implementing secure and efficient health and safety practices. We know we can help you too.