Over the past two years, healthcare workers have been placed in extremely hazardous working conditions as they provide care for those who have contracted COVID-19. Now that we’re in the next phase of the pandemic, the U.S. Department of Labor has recognized the importance of preparedness for potential future variants and to provide healthcare workers with appropriate safety measures for their protection.
As part of this, from March 9, 2022 to June 9, 2022, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will see an increase in highly focused inspections for both hospitals and skilled nursing care facilities that provide treatment for COVID-19 patients. Follow-up inspections will also be conducted at places where there have been citations previously issued, or where there have been prior complaints. Their inspection will investigate whether or not the employer has implemented a COVID-19 preparedness plan, in addition to appropriate response and control measures. Some of these measures may include the following:
OSHA hope their increased presence will help control the spread of COVID-19 and potential future variants, as well as provide a work environment that ensures greater safety for healthcare workers.
Emergency temporary standards (ETS) have been relied on heavily throughout the pandemic and have acted as a framework to provide immediate safety protocols to protect people. It is OSHA’s intention to issue a permanent standard that will provide healthcare workers with the protection needed for COVID-19 as well as other broader infectious diseases.
Hays, D. (2022, April 21). OSHA’s New COVID-19 Focused Inspection Initiative in Health Care. Retrieved from American Health Law Association: https://www.americanhealthlaw.org/content-library/publications/bulletins/ed1e3636-b935-43fa-8e33-aaccbf07f1be/OSHA-s-New-COVID-19-Focused-Inspection-Initiative
Muoio, D. (2022, March 10). OSHA conducting new wave of COVID-19 inspections among previously dinged hospitals, nursing facilities. Retrieved from Fierce Healthcare: https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/providers/osha-conducting-new-wave-covid-19-inspections-among-previously-dinged-hospitals-nursing
OSHA. (2022, March 7). US Department of Labor announces enforcement, effort for focused inspections in hospitals, nursing care facilities treating COVID-19 patients. Retrieved from Occupational Safety and Health Administration: https://www.osha.gov/news/newsreleases/trade/03072022-0
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