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Effective Date for OSHA COVID-19 Standard Is Drawing Near

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry published a notice on July 19 (Page 31) that it has adopted the federal OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to protect healthcare workers from COVID-19. With this publication, the ETS is now effective in Minnesota and will remain in effect for up to six months. During that period, MN-OSHA invites comments about the standard, and LeadingAge Minnesota will submit a memo to the agency in the weeks ahead.

The ETS applies to settings where any employee provides healthcare services or healthcare support services, including employees in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, among others.

OSHA has posted tools on its resources page to assist employers, including a sample plan, a sample workplace risk assessment and other tools. A frequently asked questions page is available here, and OSHA has newly posted a 50-minute video summarizing the ETS. LeadingAge, our national partner, has also posted a webinar update on the OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard to its Learning Hub, which is available at no cost to LeadingAge members.

The standards fall into several different categories, as described in this OHSA summary:

  • Administrative requirements, including the development of a written COVID-19 plan that is based on a workplace hazard assessment and designation of workplace safety coordinator(s);
  • Core infection control practices, including patient screening and management, standard and transmission-based precautions, use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and physical distancing;
  • Respiratory protection standards;
  • Physical environment standards, including cleaning and disinfection, use of physical barriers in some situations where distancing is not possible, and ventilation;
  • Health screening and medical management of staff cases and exposures, including screening, notification of exposures, and removing employees with suspected or confirmed cases, or who have had a high-risk exposure; and
  • Employment policies, including providing reasonable time and paid leave for vaccinations and vaccine side effects and continuing to pay employees in most circumstances when they are restricted from work due to COVID.

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