OSHA is starting a short-term increase in highly focused inspections of hospitals and nursing care facilities that treat COVID-19 patients.
This new enforcement effort, which runs from March 9 to June 9, is the agency’s latest effort to protect healthcare workers against new COVID-19 variants that could emerge as the U.S. enters the next phase of the pandemic.
The agency is looking to expand its presence to ensure employers continue to control the spread of future COVID-19 variants while protecting the health and safety of healthcare workers who are more exposed to the virus.
To that end, OSHA will be initiating focused inspections monitoring for employer readiness to protect workers from COVID-19. Follow-up, in-person inspections will be conducted at sites where previous violations were found during remote inspections.
Assessing readiness for future surges
These focused inspections are meant to assess and verify hospital and skilled nursing care employers’ compliance efforts, including their capability to be ready for future COVID-19 surges.
The new initiative is supplemental to OSHA’s targeted enforcement under its Revised COVID-19 National Emphasis Program, with the two combined to make up 15% of OSHA’s enforcement activity.
OSHA withdrew the non-recordkeeping portions of its Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard in December, but the agency continues to address COVID-19 violations via the General Duty Clause, PPE standard and Respiratory Protection standard.