While OSHA submitted its proposed permanent COVID-19 healthcare standard to the White House Office of Management and Budget for final review in early December, nothing has been heard about it since.
Review timelines at the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) vary, and law firm Seyfarth Shaw said the rule will likely go into effect by the late first quarter or early second quarter of 2023.
Review by OIRA is one of the last steps in the regulatory process before the Federal Register publishes a final rule.
Ongoing meetings with stakeholders
OIRA continues to hold meetings with worker and employer organizations regarding “concerns that the rule will do too little or too much.”
However, concerned stakeholders are unable to comment on the proposed standard’s specifics since the regulatory text hasn’t been made public at this time. Seyfarth Shaw said that it’s expected that:
- workers and unions will express concerns that the permanent rule will not do enough to protect healthcare workers from COVID-19, and
- employers will want a narrow and clear rule that doesn’t expand the scope of the emergency temporary standard (ETS) on which the permanent rule is likely based.
Legal challenges likely
Once issued, legal challenges will be likely, including “arguments that OSHA violated the OSH Act when it failed to issue the permanent standard within six months of the underlying ETS.”
OSHA’s rulemaking on a broader infectious disease standard, which was listed on the 2022 spring regulatory agenda, is also still in the works.