Safety and Health Codes Board Adopts Occupational Exposure to COVID–19; Emergency Temporary Standard, Interim Final Rule

On June 21, 2021 Federal OSHA issued an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to protect healthcare and healthcare support service workers from occupational exposure to COVID-19 in settings where people with COVID-19 are reasonably expected to be present.

On June 29, 2021, the Safety and Health Codes Board (Board) adopted the federal COVID19 Emergency Temporary Standard, 1910.502, et seq., applicable to all settings where any employee provides healthcare services or healthcare support services, with an effective date of August 2, 2021 and which shall expire within six months or when repealed by the Board, whichever occurs first.

The effective date of the ETS as adopted by the Board is August 2, 2021. Virginia employers must comply with all the requirements of the COVID-19 ETS except paragraphs §1910.502 (i), (k) and (n) by August 17, 2021. Employers must comply with paragraphs § 1910.502(i), (k), and (n) by September 1, 2021.

In its motion to adopt the Emergency Temporary Standard, the Safety and Health Codes Board also accepted the recommendation of the Department that:

1. Application of Virginia’s 16VAC-25-220, except for 16VAC-25-220-40 B.7.d and e, and 16VAC25-220-90, to such covered employers and employees subject to the standard shall be suspended while the federal COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard remains in effect.

2. Should the federal COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard, 1910.502, et seq., applicable to settings where any employee provides healthcare services or healthcare support services be later stayed or invalidated by a state or federal court, the provisions of Virginia’s 16VAC25-220, Final Permanent Standard for Infectious Disease Prevention of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus That Causes COVID-19, including 16VAC25-220-50, shall immediately apply to such employers and employees in its place with no further action of the Board required.

3. Should the federal COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard, 1910.502, et seq., applicable to all settings where any employee provides healthcare services or healthcare support services be later stayed by federal OSHA, or otherwise revoked, repealed, declared unenforceable, or permitted to expire, the provisions of Virginia’s 16VAC25-220, Final Permanent Standard for Infectious Disease Prevention of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus That Causes COVID-19, including 16VAC25-220-50, shall immediately apply to such employers and employees in its place with no further action of the Board required. In addition, the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board shall within 30 days notice a regular, special, or emergency meeting/conduct a regular, special, or emergency meeting to determine whether there is a continued need for Virginia’s 16VAC25-220, Final Permanent Standard for Infectious Disease Prevention of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus That Causes COVID-19, or whether it should be maintained, modified, or revoked.

To access the final rule see Occupational Exposure to COVID–19; Emergency Temporary Standard, Interim Final Rule.

For more information on the regulatory process followed regarding the adoption of the rule, please visit the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall.

For Federal OSHA Outreach Materials, see COVID-19 Healthcare ETS Outreach.