Nurses union condemns expiration of emergency OSHA standards

National Nurses United, the largest U.S. union of registered nurses, is condemning the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration's decision to rescind some COVID-19 protections for healthcare workers as it works to issue a final rule.

The agency announced Dec. 28 that non-recordkeeping portions of the emergency temporary standard for healthcare workers, which includes rules regarding patient screening and certain medical management, will no longer be enforced, but rules regarding logs and recordings will remain in effect.

"It is unconscionable that OSHA would not make the Covid-19 health care ETS permanent," said Bonnie Castillo, RN, executive director of National Nurses United. "Without a permanent standard, we will see more preventable transmission of the virus, more hospitalizations, and more deaths from Covid-19. It is absolutely essential that our frontline health care workers have these lifesaving protections to do their jobs safely so they can continue to care for patients, especially when we are now facing Delta and Omicron variants as well as flu season."

The union also condemned the CDC's decision to trim the isolation period for asymptomatic healthcare workers. The letter added the union plans to hold a day of action Jan. 13 in response to the recent moves from government agencies.

 

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