The Masks Are Back: New OSHA Regulations for Healthcare EmployersClient Alert
Employment Law After Hours is back with a News Break Episode. Yesterday, OSHA published new rules for healthcare facilities, including hospitals, home health employers, nursing homes, ambulance companies, and assisted living facilities. These new rules are very cumbersome, requiring mask wearing for all employees, even those that are vaccinated. The only exception is for fully vaccinated employees (2 weeks post final dose) who are in a "well-defined" area where there is no reasonable expectation that any person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 will be present.
These new regulations also require the implementation of a compliant COVID-19 safety policy, COVID case record keeping for employees (regardless of whether the infection came from work or outside of work), and it discusses and requires many of the best practices most of our healthcare clients have followed since day one, among other requirements. Many of the regulations require implementation within 14 to 30 days, so your clients will want to speak with their OSHA expert as soon as possible. BMD has a few OSHA knowledgeable attorneys that can be available to answer questions/concerns. Your clients will want to implement these new requirements alongside their OSHA certified employees who handle existing OSHA issues/concerns.
Stephen Matasich, one of our resident OSHA attorneys, has also published a client alert for general industry employers other than healthcare.
What healthcare providers are specifically exempt from these new regulations?
- Non-Hospital Ambulatory Care Setting where (a) all non-employees are screened prior to entry, and (b) people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not permitted to enter.
- Hospital Ambulatory Care Setting where (a) all employees are fully vaccinated, (b) all non-employees are screened prior to entry, and (c) people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not permitted to enter.
- Home Healthcare Setting when (a) all employees are fully vaccinated, (b) all non-employees are screened prior to entry, and (c) people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not permitted to enter.
The new OSHA regulations also require these employers to provide paid leave for vaccination obtainment, and its side effects, which we previously covered in an ELAH episode, link provided below. I also provided the link to the mandatory vaccine episode as healthcare clients may now desire to implement a mandatory vaccine policy given these new requirements.
Link to watch this Breaking News episode on the new OSHA requirements is here: https://youtu.be/vPyXmKwOzsk
Link to Paid COVID Leave (including Vaccination Obtainment) is here: https://youtu.be/NOv0_R_SMpg
Link to Episode on Mandatory Vaccine Policies is here: https://youtu.be/rWqGbOzWzWw and https://youtu.be/5CrBCjK2rv8 (with updated EEOC guidance).
For more information, please feel free to contact BMD Labor + Employment Partner Bryan Meek at email@example.com or 330.253.5586.