What HME Providers Need to Know about the New OSHA Requirements

Published in Government Relations on June 22, 2021

If you don’t have a COVID-19 plan or designated COVID-19 safety coordinators, the clock is ticking. According to OSHA’s COVID-19 ETS (Emergency Temporary Standard), employers have 14 to 30 days to comply with new standards, depending on the provision. 

As of Monday, June 21, 2021, OSHA’s COVID-19 ETS has appeared on the Federal Register website as an Interim Final Rule with request for comments.This ETS stems from an Executive Order signed by President Biden in January 2021 to protect worker health and safety, which directed OSHA to take action to reduce the risk for workers who are at risk of contracting COVID-19 in the workplace.

The language of the ETS contains several requirements that will be applicable to most settings where any employee provides healthcare services or healthcare support services, including DME suppliers and home health agencies. Some of the key requirements of the ETS are as follows:

  • The employer must develop and implement a COVID-19 plan for each workplace. If the employer has more than 10 employees, the COVID-19 plan must be written
  • The employer must designate one or more workplace COVID-19 safety coordinators to implement and monitor the COVID-19 plan
  • The employer must conduct a workplace-specific hazard assessment to identify potential workplace hazards related to COVID-19
  • In order for an employer to be exempt from providing controls based on employees’ fully vaccinated status, the COVID-19 plan must include policies and procedures to determine employees’ vaccination status
  • The employer must seek the input and involvement of non-managerial employees and their representatives, if any, in the hazard assessment and the development and implementation of the COVID-19 plan
  • The employer must monitor each workplace to ensure the ongoing effectiveness of the COVID-19 plan and update it as needed
  • The COVID-19 plan must address the hazards identified by the assessment, and include policies and procedures to minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19 for each employee and effectively communicate and coordinate with other employers when workspace is shared by multiple employers
  • The COVID-19 plan must contain provisions that protect employees who enter into private residences or other physical locations controlled by a person not covered by the OSH Act (e.g., homeowners, sole proprietors). This must include procedures for employee withdrawal from that location if those protections are inadequate
  • In settings where direct patient care is provided, the employer must: (1) Limit and monitor points of entry to the setting
  • PPE, physical barrier, cleaning/sanitizing, and social distancing protocols within the healthcare setting

There are several resources that will be of benefit to you as you review this ETS.

  1. Full ETS Language 
  2. ETS FAQs 
  3. ETS Summary Sheet
  4. Flowchart to help determine which ETS applies to your business
  5. Map of which states 1) are Federal OSHA states, 2) have state plans that cover only state/local government workplaces, or 3) have state plans that cover both state/local government as well as private workplaces: https://www.osha.gov/stateplans

As you can see when using the map linked above, the implementation of these regulations could vary from state to state. Employers with questions regarding this OSHA ETS are encouraged to reach out to their state’s OSHA office. You can find your local OSHA office here: https://www.osha.gov/contactus/bystate. The national phone # for OSHA is 800-321-6742.

According to the ETS summary sheet, “Employers must comply with most provisions within 14 days, and with provisions involving physical barriers, ventilation, and training within 30 days. OSHA will use its enforcement discretion for employers who are making a good faith effort to comply with the ETS.”

TAGS

  1. osha
  2. vgm government

From Our Experts

GAP Update: Driving Support for H.R. 6641 thumbnail GAP Update: Driving Support for H.R. 6641 Check out this message from Grassroots Accountability Project (GAP) team members Emily Harken with VGM and Ashley Plauché with AAHomecare about driving support for H.R. 6641, which is legislation that would provide reimbursement relief for former Competitive Bidding Areas. OMEPA and Complete Care Medical Hosts Industry Champion, Rep. Markwayne Mullin thumbnail OMEPA and Complete Care Medical Hosts Industry Champion, Rep. Markwayne Mullin On Monday, Victor Clay of Complete Home Medical and John Gallagher of VGM attended an event for Industry Champion, Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) in Broken Bow, OK. Worker's Comp Prosthetic Bill In Iowa Passes House and Senate thumbnail Worker's Comp Prosthetic Bill In Iowa Passes House and Senate Today the Iowa legislature passed a bill allowing for prosthetic devices for a person injured on the job as long as it is medically necessary. VGM Government Relations Supports HME Advocates thumbnail VGM Government Relations Supports HME Advocates VGM Government Relations is helping spread awareness of a variety of events held for members of Congress in their districts, all in order to support legislation that improves the HME industry. This includes events for Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) on May 23 in Broken Bow, OK; Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX) on May 25; and Rep. John Thune (R-SD) on June 29. Medicare Advantage Plans Denying Items That Original Medicare Would Have Covered thumbnail Medicare Advantage Plans Denying Items That Original Medicare Would Have Covered Do Medicare Advantage plans really follow Medicare guidelines like they say they do? For any provider that deals with both traditional fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare, as well as Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, you've probably found yourself asking that very question. From the Desk of Ronda: Want to Avoid Supplier Number Issues? Read On! thumbnail From the Desk of Ronda: Want to Avoid Supplier Number Issues? Read On! Maintaining a supplier number is vital to the supplier's business. There is an update and a few reminders that need to be shared with the VGM membership that will assist with sustaining smooth operations. 2022 HME Cost of Delivery – The Survey Results Are In! thumbnail 2022 HME Cost of Delivery – The Survey Results Are In! VGM & Associates routinely monitors environmental factors which impact Home Medical Equipment (HME) providers and their ability to effectively provide their products and services to patients who need and rely on them. Make Plans to Attend or Support an Event for Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) thumbnail Make Plans to Attend or Support an Event for Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) There will be an event for Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) on May 23 at 5:30 p.m. CT in Broken Bow, OK.