OSHA is not changing its COVID-19 emergency temporary standard (ETS) for healthcare facilities despite recent U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance regarding mask wearing and the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
The CDC issued new mask guidance July 27 to help protect both vaccinated and unvaccinated people against the Delta variant, which now makes up about 83% of all U.S. COVID cases.
In response, OSHA posted on its ETS webpage that it “has reviewed the latest guidance, science and data on COVID-19” and has consulted with the CDC on the matter, leading the agency to determine that no changes are necessary at this time.
The agency also mentions that it will continue to monitor and assess the need for changes on a monthly basis.
That means OSHA is making it clear mask exceptions for vaccinated employees will still be permissible, despite the new CDC guidance, according to law firm Seyfarth Shaw.
This is encouraging since it seems to point to OSHA’s enforcement priorities not being subject to sudden reversals like those presented in the CDC guidance, the law firm states.