It’s been a while since our last update about OSHA’s rulemaking for the permanent COVID-19 rule for healthcare, which is very good news. It was always a possibility that by the time OSHA got around to finalizing and issuing its permanent COVID-19 regulation that the pandemic would be in such a state that it would not make any practical, health, or political sense to actually issue the rule. But that does not appear to be OSHA’s thinking right now, or the thinking of the DC Circuit and the nurses unions that continue to push OSHA to finalize the rule.
According to a sworn statement by Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Doug Parker on July 25, 2022, OSHA remains “on track” to complete its long-term COVID-19 safety healthcare standard in September to October of 2022. This is consistent with OSHA’s January 2022 statement that it intended to develop a permanent COVID-19 standard for healthcare workers within six to nine months.
Assistant Secretary Parker’s statement appears to be a reaction to inconsistent testimony from Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh before the Senate Appropriations Committee on June 15, 2022. There, Secretary Walsh testified that OSHA would finalize the standard in three to six months, which sounded like a shift in OSHA’s target issuance date to later in the year or even next year. Continue reading