After weeks of delays, the President's executive order to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is finally coming to fruition. The order requires OSHA to establish workplace safety rules to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
"OSHA has been working diligently on its proposal and has taken the appropriate time to work with its science-agency partners, economic agencies, and others in the U.S. government to get this proposed emergency standard right," - OSHA representative
The most recent delays were caused by Labor Secretary Marty Walsh requesting an additional review of the rules "based on CDC analysis and the latest information regarding the state of vaccinations and the variants."
The new mandates, which will be laid out in the emergency temporary standards by OSHA, mark the first time since 1983 that the workplace safety watchdog has used its emergency powers to swiftly require employers to provide certain protections to their workers. And the rules mark a significant departure from the Trump administration’s business-friendly approach of providing optional safety guidelines to employers.
These rules will stay in effect for the next six months — all the while coming at the same time many states have started to roll back restrictions on businesses, including mask mandates.
The rules are expected to require employers to supply their workers with masks, have a written plan to avert exposure in the workplace and take other precautions that could kick up complaints from businesses over costs as more states relax pandemic restrictions.
Employers in states that have relaxed their own Covid-19 rules — like Texas and Mississippi — will now have to provide their workers with masks and other protective equipment under the federal OSHA rules, a requirement they did not face until now.
Although it's a given pretty much all medical and dental facilities will have masks and other PPE available, it's important to make sure you have policies that outline the safeguards you have in place and that you continue to be diligent about enforcing minimum PPE requirements, either required by your State or the newest OSHA rules.
Our 2021 OSHA Compliance Manual for Healthcare or Dentistry includes everything you need to get into compliance quickly and affordably. Please contact us if you have any questions at 1-800-522-9308.