Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Back in January, Husch Blackwell attorneys posted about the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) intention to convene a Small Business Advocacy Review Panel (SBAR Panel). This panel would help decide whether OSHA should enact a Prevention of Workplace Violence in Healthcare and Social Assistance standard.

OSHA did convene the SBAR Panel, and now, small

OSHA is currently considering a possible “Prevention of Workplace Violence in Healthcare and Social Assistance” rule. If passed, the Rule would apply to employers whose employees face an increased risk of workplace violence from their patients, clients, residents and/or facility visitors. Such employees include those who work in hospitals, ambulatory medical care or substance abuse

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

As mandated by President Biden’s January 21 Executive Order, OSHA has announced a National Emphasis Program (NEP) designed to protect workers from contracting COVID-19.  On March 12, 2021, OSHA announced its new national emphasis program that targets high-risk establishments in high-risk industries for programmed inspections and provides a heightened focus on employers that retaliate against employees who report or complain about unsafe working environments. In conjunction with the NEP, OSHA also issued an updated Interim Enforcement Plan to provide guidance on the policies and procedures it will employ to reduce and eliminate the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace. The issuance of the NEP is a strong indication that OSHA enforcement activity will increase in the short term.
Continue Reading OSHA Enforcement Activity Relating to COVD-19 Exposures Expected to Increase Under New NEP and Updated Interim Enforcement Response Plan

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