By Olivia Wann, BS, JD
OSHA officially published the Occupational Exposure to COVID-19 – Emergency Temporary Standard. According to OSHA, for the first time in 50 years, OSHA faces a new hazard so grave that it has killed nearly 600,000 people in the U.S. in barely a year and infected millions more. OSHA also reported that as of May 24th, over 491,816 health care workers contracted COVID-19 and more than 1,600 of the workers died.
OSHA points out that SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) presents “grave danger” to healthcare employees. With that said, the Emergency Temporary Standard does not apply to most dental offices who are considered non-hospital ambulatory care settings IF ALL NON-EMPLOYEES ARE SCREENED PRIOR TO ENTRY AND PEOPLE WITH SUSPECTED OR CONFIRMED COVID-19 ARE NOT PERMITTED TO ENTER. If your office is not screening everyone that enters, then the standard applies. You may download a copy of the standard: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/06/21/2021-12428/occupational-exposure-to-covid-19-emergency-temporary-standard#h-14.
To avoid OSHA violations and to promote safety, you must continue pre-appointment screenings of patients. Screen staff unless they were fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Maintain a COVID-19 plan. Conduct a hazard assessment. Provide training.
Please contact our office if you need assistance in making sure you meet the exemption. Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org