On Wednesday, June 16, 2021, Conn Maciel Carey’s national OSHA Practice presented a webinar regarding Federal OSHA’s New COVID-19 ETS Standard and Updated COVID-19 Workplace Guidance.
On June 10th, federal OSHA finally revealed its much anticipated COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), but rather than a rule applicable to all industries, OSHA developed a regulation that is narrowly tailored only to certain healthcare settings. For everyone else, federal OSHA simultaneously published significant updates to its workplace COVID-19 guidance that it had originally prepared in Jan. 2021 in response to President Biden’s Day 1 OSHA Executive Order.
The COVID-19 ETS, and its 900+ page Preamble, is a dizzying piece of regulation. While there are lots of generalizations about how it applies only to hospital settings, there are quirks in the Applicability section that could sweep in other employers, including on-site medical clinics at manufacturing plants, COVID-19 testing facilities in otherwise non-healthcare workplaces, and general facilities support at healthcare locations, such as maintenance, housekeeping, and laundry services. And in terms of substantive provisions, the ETS does depart from the COVID-19 landscape we have all grown accustomed to over the past year and a half – the ETS requires creation of new roles, will likely require updates to written prevention plans and training, may require new engineering installations and work on HVAC systems, and will definitely affect record making, recordkeeping, and reporting policies.
The updated guidance for all other industries will also likely result in material changes to the way employers are managing the COVID-19 crisis in the workplace. However, those will be mostly welcome changes, as, at its core, OSHA’s updated guidance aligns OSHA’s recommendations with the CDC’s May guidance regarding dropping masks and distancing for fully vaccinated workers. But the devil is in the details.
Participants in this webinar learned the following:
- To whom, where, and when does Fed OSHA’s new COVID-19 ETS apply
- What does OSHA’s COVID-19 ETS require and prohibit
- What employers need to know about OSHA’s updated COVID-19 workplace guidance
- The impact of vaccination and verifying vaccination status on both the ETS and OSHA’s guidance
This was the 9th webinar event in Conn Maciel Carey’s 2021 OSHA Webinar Series. Click here to view our full schedule, detailed program descriptions for all of the webinars in the 2021 OSHA Webinar Series. If you missed any of our past webinars in our annual OSHA Webinar Series, click here to subscribe to our YouTube channel and view our webinar archive.
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For resources on issues related to COVID-19, please visit Conn Maciel Carey’s COVID-19 Resource Page for an extensive index of frequently asked questions with our answers about HR, employment law, and OSHA regulatory developments and guidance, as well as COVID-19 recordkeeping and reporting flow charts. Likewise, subscribe to our Employer Defense Report blog and OSHA Defense Report blog for regular updates about the Labor and Employment Law or OSHA implications of COVID-19 in the workplace. Conn Maciel Carey’s COVID-19 Task Force is monitoring federal, state, and local developments closely and is continuously updating these blogs and the FAQ page with the latest news and resources for employers.