Conn Maciel Carey’s COVID-19 Task Force
Thankfully, it has been quite a while since our last COVID-19 rulemaking update.
As you will recall, OSHA reopened its rulemaking record for the COVID-19 Rule for Healthcare on March 22, 2022, and then on April 22nd, we submitted three sets of written comments on behalf of the Employers COVID-19 Prevention Coalition regarding issues facing: (1) retailers and retail pharmacies; (2) addressing embedded medical clinics and emergency response teams for manufacturers and other industrial worksites; and (3) addressing construction issues at healthcare workplaces. We participated in OSHA’s Public Hearing for the rulemaking, held on April 27th – May 2nd, and then submitted two additional sets of post-hearing comments on May 23rd. Then basically nothing happened.
We were beginning to think that OSHA had abandoned the rulemaking for a permanent COVID-19 Standard for Healthcare. But we now have some significant news to share. Last week, on December 8th, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) updated its website to reflect that it officially has OSHA’s “Occupational Exposure to COVID-19 in Healthcare Settings” Standard “under review.”
The website reflects that OMB received the proposed final rule from OSHA on December 7th. Here is a link to the page for this rulemaking and below is all the relevant information reflected on OMB’s website: Continue reading
By Conn Maciel Carey LLP’s COVID-19 Task Force
After OSHA just recently initiated a three-month COVID-19 focused enforcement blitz targeting the healthcare industry, earlier this week, on March 22nd, OSHA announced that it has officially reopened the rulemaking record for a “permanent” COVID-19 standard applicable to the healthcare industry, and perhaps now some industries tangentially related to healthcare.
OSHA will accept comments on the proposed permanent standard through April 22, 2022, and has scheduled a public hearing on the rulemaking for April 27th.
Below we provide some important background and recommendations on next steps to ensure the healthcare industry and other potentially impacted employers maximize this opportunity to influence the direction and outcome of the permanent COVID-19 rulemaking.
Importantly, we also identify below a potential major expansion of the scope of coverage of the standard that OSHA is contemplating. OSHA is explicitly considering eliminating the coverage exemption that had been included in the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard for Healthcare (the ETS) for those ambulatory care, non-hospital settings where some healthcare services are provided, but that screen individuals for COVID-19 before entry and prevent COVID-19 infected individuals from entering. If that exemption is not carried forward from the ETS into the permanent standard, then general industry manufacturers that have medical clinics onsite; dental and other doctors’ offices; retail pharmacies; etc. will be pulled into coverage under the permanent standard; i.e., any employer that operates any type of facility where any form of healthcare services are provided could be regulated by the permanent standard. It is imperative, therefore, that potentially impacted employers participate in this rulemaking.
Why is OSHA Partially Reopening the Rulemaking? Continue reading
On Tuesday, March 15, 2022, Andrew Sommer, Fred Walter, and Megan Shaked presented a webinar regarding a Cal/OSHA Enforcement and Regulatory Update.
This has been a challenging year for California employers navigating the COVID-19 pandemic with a set of ever-changing regulatory requirements, as well as a flurry of other new workplace safety laws the legislature passed towards the end of 2021. This update covered the latest legislative and rulemaking developments concerning COVID-19, including the second re-adopted COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). We will also cover other laws creating new workplace safety requirements and expanding the Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s (DOSH) enforcement authority.
During this webinar, participants learned about: Continue reading