On Friday, April 22, CWS filed comments on OSHA’s Interim Final Rule establishing a COVID-19 healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard, “Occupational Exposure to COVID-19 in Healthcare Settings.”
Our comments raised several procedural concerns with the rulemaking. Specifically, we addressed 1) OSHA’s lack of transparency and notice in developing the Healthcare ETS and, now, a final standard; (2) OSHA’s need to follow all OSH Act 6(b) procedures before issuing a permanent standard; (3) other procedural requirements that OSHA side-stepped in developing this standard; (4) OSHA’s apparent attempt to regulate the hazards of daily life in this proposed expansion of the ETS; and (5) practical difficulties in applying a standard tailored for the healthcare industry to other settings.
In our comments we explained, “CWS believes unequivocally that OSHA is not permitted to, and must not, issue a permanent standard after having withdrawn the Healthcare ETS in December 2021. If OSHA believes such a standard is warranted, the only path available is to propose such a standard de novo consistent with the rulemaking requirements in the [Occupational Safety and Health Act] and the [Administrative Procedure Act].”