On June 10, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a COVID-19 Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). Although the standard is directed to the healthcare industry, we want to provide you with additional information so you can determine whether the standard applies to your business. As you may know, Regulatory Support Services provides compliance services to a variety of industries, among them, the dental industry. So, if you believe you may be covered by the ETS, read on.
OSHA has recently provided a flow chart to assist employers in determining if and how the ETS applies to their business. You can access it here: Is your workplace covered by the COVID 19 Healthcare ETS? (osha.gov) . According to The American Dental Association (ADA), dental practices are largely exempt from the ETS, however, hospital based oral surgery practices and those who provide care to patients with COVID-19 are not exempt. If a dental practice is not exempt from the ETS it is mandated to have a written COVID-19 plan in place. Otherwise, it is highly recommended that even exempt practices have a written plan in place.
The ETS does require that a nonexempt employer conduct a hazard assessment in the workplace. This helps employers identify and understand where COVID-19 hazards potentially exist and what controls must be implemented in their workplace to minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19. As part of the hazard assessment, employers must inspect the entire workplace to find existing and potential risks of employee exposure to COVID-19. Again, even if the employer is exempt from the ETS, the hazard assessment is highly recommended.