On March 7, 2022, OSHA announced an enforcement memorandum for a short-term increase in highly focused inspections directed at hospitals and skilled nursing care facilities that treat COVID-19 patients.
The goal of this enforcement initiative is to expand OSHA’s presence to ensure continued mitigation to control the spread of COVID-19 and future variants of the coronavirus.
Enforcement Initiative Focus
OSHA’s announcement states the agency intends to expand its presence in targeted high-hazard health care facilities during a three-month period from March 9 to June 9, 2022. Through this focused enforcement initiative, the agency will verify and assess hospital and skilled nursing care compliance with COVID-19 safety guidelines, including their readiness to address ongoing or future COVID-19 surges.
This initiative supplements OSHA’s targeted enforcement under the Revised COVID-19 National Emphasis Program (NEP) (DIR 2021-03 [CPL 03]). Specifically, the agency plans to conduct focused follow-up and monitoring inspections of previously inspected entities that received previous COVID-19 citations or hazard alert letters. Focused follow-ups will also include entities that received COVID-19-related citations after a remote-only inspection. Potential targets for these focused inspections include general medical and surgical hospitals, psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals, nursing care facilities and assisted living facilities for the elderly.
Employer Next Steps
OSHA expects this initiative and the revised COVID-19 NEP will comprise 15% of the agency’s enforcement activity. Health care employers should become familiar with this enforcement initiative and continue to provide a safe and healthy workplace for their employees.
The HOTCOMP Safety Committee meets twice a year to discuss the issues of safety in our member hospitals and what we can do to do to help make them safer workplaces. The majority of the Committee members are administrators and safety specialists in your fellow member hospitals. We understand that issues come up through the year. If you would like to post a question to the safety committee members as a group or individuals, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will pass your questions on to the appropriate member(s).