American Hospital Association seeks extension for hospitals to follow COVID-19 workplace safety rules

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The American Hospital Association is calling for an extension for facilities to comply with new COVID-19 workplace safety rules for healthcare.

The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration released an emergency temporary standard for healthcare workers June 10. The standard — which applies to healthcare settings where suspected or confirmed coronavirus patients are treated — takes effect once published in the federal register, which occurred June 21. The compliance deadline for most provisions is within 14 days and within 30 days for the remaining provisions.

But in a June 29 letter, the association urged OSHA to delay the compliance dates for at least six months.

"Changes in hospital policies and procedures are not simply a matter of changing words on paper; they require careful analysis and planning, the acquisition of needed materials and tools and the retraining of personnel. For organizations that are already busy caring for their communities' ill and injured, it will take time to accomplish all of these required changes," the association wrote. 

The American Hospital also called on OSHA to extend the comment deadline by 30 days, through Aug. 20, so there is more time for hospitals to provide feedback for OSHA's review.

Read the full letter here. Read more about the emergency temporary standard here

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