OSHA schedules hearing on permanent COVID-19 standard for healthcare workers

In a move toward developing a final COVID-19 standard for healthcare workers, the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration said March 22 that it has partially reopened the rulemaking record and scheduled an online public hearing. 

The agency is allowing written comments through April 22 and will begin the online hearing April 27, according to a news release.   

The news comes after OSHA issued an emergency temporary standard for healthcare workers in June.

On Dec. 27, the agency announced that non-record-keeping portions of the emergency temporary standard for healthcare workers — which includes rules regarding ventilation, physical barriers and other safety-related issues — would no longer be enforced, but rules regarding logs and recordings would remain in effect. Meanwhile, healthcare unions have pushed for OSHA to finalize the rule.

Now, the agency said it is reopening the rulemaking record to allow for new data and comments on topics such as alignment with the CDC's infection control recommendations, additional flexibility for employers, recordkeeping and reporting provisions related to the virus, and employer support for workers who want to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Comments may be submitted here. Those who wish to speak at the hearing must submit their notice of intention to appear.

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