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January 5, 2022

OSHA retracts portion of COVID-19 ETS for healthcare employers

Will continue enforcement under general duty clause

The Healthcare ETS, which intended to protect workers from the spread of COVID-19 in settings where they provide healthcare or healthcare support services, expired on December 21, 2021. On December 27, 2021, OSHA announced it is withdrawing the non-recordkeeping portion of the Emergency Temporary Standard for healthcare employers.

In its announcement, OSHA stated it will vigorously enforce safety standards related to the mitigation of COVID-19 in the healthcare industry. It appears that OSHA will enforce these standards under the OSH Act’s general duty clause, which requires that each employer with 100+ employees maintain a workplace free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to its employees.

Separately, on December 28, 2021, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance for 25 states & D.C. (the ETS is blocked in 25 other states), indicating it is moving forward with implementation of OSHA’s ETS of mandatory vaccination for employers with 100+ employees. CMS revised the mandatory vaccination dates to January 27, 2022 for the first dose and February 28, 2022 for the second. Full vaccination under this mandate does not require a booster at this time.

The U.S. Supreme Court hearing for both the OSHA COVID-19 ETS (100+) and CMS Vaccination Mandates is set for January 7, 2022. Please follow MMA’s Vaccination Legislation page for regular updates.