OSHA Publishes COVID 19 Emergency Temporary Standard

OSHA published its Occupational Exposure to COVID-19: Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on Monday, June 21, 2021. Affected employers must comply with all requirements of the standard, except for requirements concerning physical barriers, ventilation and training, by July 6, 2021. The same employers are allowed two additional weeks to comply with physical barrier, ventilation and training requirements (by July 21, 2021).

How to Determine Whether Your Practice is Covered by the ETS

If your workplace meets all of the following conditions, the ETS does not apply to your workplace:

  • It is a non-hospital ambulatory care setting;
  • ALL non-employees are screened prior to entry; and
  • People with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not permitted to enter.

There are additional exemptions for well-defined hospital ambulatory care settings and home healthcare settings that meet certain conditions. To view a flow chart that illustrates the various exemptions, please go to: https://www.osha.gov/sites/default/files/publications/OSHA4125.pdf


Many of the requirements of the ETS have been partially addressed by the Infectious Disease Preparedness policies provided in the (March) 2021 Safety Policies Update that were based on prior OSHA and CDC guidance. Eagle Associates will work to quickly address the additional requirements of the ETS and provide a revised copy of the Infectious Disease Preparedness policies by Friday, June 25, 2021 in the Member Services area of our website. In the meantime, ensure that your practice has implemented the Infectious Disease Preparedness policies that have already been issued, including development of a Respiratory Protection Program.

New Requirements

Some of the notable additions to OSHA’s guidance include:

  • Medical removal policies and medical removal protection benefits for employees.
  • A requirement to provide paid time off for employees to receive COVID-19 vaccination and to recover from side effects following vaccination.
  • A requirement to install physical barriers where each employee is not separated from all other people by at least 6 feet of distance (except in patient care areas or resident rooms)*
  • When respirators are not required, but are voluntarily provided by the employer or employees, the employer must develop a Mini Respiratory Protection Program. (A full Respiratory Protection Program is still required if respirators are required to be worn, as is the case when employees will be present during aerosol-generating procedures or exposed to patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection).
  • Employers with more than 10 employees will be required to maintain a COVID-19 log to record each instance in which an employee is COVID-19 positive, without regard to occupational exposure.
  • Employers who own or control their facility’s HVAC systems must ensure that the systems are used according to manufacturer’s instructions and design specifications, and that air filters are rated Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) 13 or higher if the system allows it.

* The ETS exempts fully vaccinated workers from masking, distancing, and barrier requirements when in well-defined areas where there is no reasonable expectation that any person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 will be present.

Please visit the following OSHA web page for a full copy of the ETS, FAQs, specific instructions for the COVID-19 log and more:  https://www.osha.gov/coronavirus/ets