OSHA to release virus emergency temporary standard

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    Reprints

    COVID

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will release its long-awaited COVID-19 emergency temporary standard on Thursday, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh announced at the beginning of a hearing before the House Education and Labor Committee Wednesday — but it will apply only to the health care industry.

    The ETS, which has been in the works since Jan. 21 when President Joe Biden signed an executive order mandating that OSHA create the standard, will be available on the OSHA website tomorrow, Mr. Walsh said.

    The standard has undergone multiple delays and most recently spent several weeks being reviewed in the Office of Management and Budget.

    Initially, industry experts feared the ETS would resemble the California Division of Occupation Safety and Health ETS, which required employers to adhere to a number of COVID-19 protocols and imposed record-keeping and testing at employer expense. The California standard has since been modified but continues to require masking and social distancing for workforces that are not 100% vaccinated.

    The federal ETS will be tailored to the health care industry and “reflects the reality on the ground,” Mr. Walsh said during the hearing. He did not provide further details on the ETS or how the health care industry would be defined under the standard.

    Once published by OSHA, the ETS will also be published in the Federal Register with a comment period prior to becoming law.

    More insurance and workers compensation news on the coronavirus crisis here.

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      The Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Monday sent a draft of a COVID-19 emergency temporary standard to the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs for review, according to a Department of Labor spokeswoman.