OSHA New COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards Apply To Specific Businesses
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released its COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). The ETS was developed following an executive order by the Biden Administration that directed OSHA to consider whether any emergency temporary standards regarding the pandemic were necessary. The resulting ETS applies to “settings where any employee provides health-care services or health-care support services.”
The Small Business Legislative Council (SBLC)—an independent, permanent coalition of national trade and professional associations, including PPAI, representing small businesses in federal legislative and regulatory issues—commented on OSHA’s announcement, noting that its focus on health care and health-care support service workers is a relief to businesses. For businesses, SBLC reports, the big concern had been that the emergency temporary standard would impose requirements that would create additional burdens and hurdles for them just as the economy has begun to fully reopen.
OSHA estimates that the ETS will cover around 10.3 million workers. It includes provisions related to PPE, the physical workplace and paid leave for employees so they can get vaccinated and recover from vaccines. The SBLC notes that those businesses covered by the ETS may be relieved to find that many of the provisions are consistent with prior OSHA guidance and that they are already in compliance in many respects.
For businesses that are not covered by the new ETS, OSHA has updated its Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace.