Occupational Safety and Health Administration

On June 28, 2021, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) issued a new directive that establishes a change in its inspection and enforcement procedures to facilitate the uniform enforcement of OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) with respect to workplace exposures to COVID-19 in the healthcare industry. The directive is effective for no more than 12 months from June 21, 2021, unless cancelled or extended by OSHA. State Plans must adopt enforcement policies that are identical to or at least as effective as the enforcement policies issued by federal OSHA by July 28, 2021.
Continue Reading Compliance Guidance for Healthcare: OSHA Directive for COVID-19 ETS

Unfortunately, workplace violence is in the news every day.  OSHA is paying increasing attention to the workplace violence issue, particularly in the healthcare industry.  While there is no specific OSHA regulation addressing workplace violence, a recent decision supports OSHA’s use of the General Duty Clause in workplace violence cases in the healthcare industry.

In Secretary of Labor v. Integra Health Management, No 13-1124 (March 4, 2019), the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) upheld a violation of the General Duty Clause when it found an employer did not adequately address workplace violence hazards.  In that case, the company employed “service coordinators” to help its clients obtain medical care.  Health insurers send the clients to Integra after reviewing claim histories to identify individuals who are not receiving appropriate care.  In this case, a service coordinator was assigned to visit a client at his home and that service coordinator made notes in her report that the client made her “uncomfortable” and detailed his strange behavior.  On a following visit to the client, the service coordinator was stabbed by the client nine times and died.
Continue Reading OSHA, Workplace Violence, and the Healthcare Industry