Education & Labor Leaders Urge Biden Not to Withdraw Healthcare Protections ETS

  • by AGD Washington Advocacy Representative
  • Feb 3, 2022
In a letter addressed to President Biden and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, Representatives Bobby Scott, Chair of the Education and Labor Committee, and Alma Adams, Chair of the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, objected to the administration’s plan to withdraw most of its June 21, 2021 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring health care facilities to take steps to protect healthcare workers from exposure to COVID-19 while a more permanent standard is developed.

Under the OSH Act, an ETS is effective until superseded by a permanent standard - a process contemplated by the OSH Act to occur within 6 months of the ETS’s promulgation. Since a final rule did not occur within that time frame, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced plans to withdraw the non-recordkeeping portions of the healthcare ETS. OSHA strongly encourages all healthcare employers to continue implementing the ETS requirements while a final rule is developed.

The Education and Labor leaders cited the Labor Department’s own explanation that vaccination alone was not enough to eliminate the dangers posed to health care workers and stressed that an ETS remains necessary to sufficiently protect health care workers. They urged the administration to immediately reimplement the standard and prioritize the development of a permanent standard.

Impact on General Dentistry: AGD continues to review developments related to the healthcare ETS and its impact on dental practices and the delivery of dental care. While a final rule is developed, AGD advises its members covered by the ETS to continue voluntary compliance as encouraged by OSHA.