Manager of Regulatory Services
OSHA released the text of its much anticipated COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on June 10, 2021.
The ETS is the result of an Executive Order signed by President Biden that required OSHA to determine whether an ETS is required and, if so, to issue one by March 15, 2021. Obviously, OSHA missed that deadline. There has been speculation that an ETS will not survive legal challenge given OSHA’s prior determination that an ETS was not necessary and given the increased availability of vaccines.
The COVID-19 ETS that OSHA has released is focused on healthcare workers and not the general workplace population. The ETS specifically states that it does not apply to first aid rendered by an employee who is not a licensed healthcare provider, and that where a medical clinic with services provided by a licensed healthcare provider is located in a manufacturing facility that the rule applies only to the embedded healthcare setting and not the remainder of the facility. With these restrictions, the ETS will have a more narrow applicability than if it applied generally to all workplaces and all workers.
OSHA has provided a fact sheet that outlines the requirements of the ETS. Compliance with most provisions of the ETS is required within 14 days following publication in the Federal Register, with 30 days allowed for specific provisions. As of this writing, the ETS has not been published in the Federal Register.
OSHA has also updated its COVID-19 guidance for workplaces not covered by the ETS.