The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the COVID-19 Focused Inspection Initiative in Healthcare in March of this year. Now, this initiative is active in full force. The measure was created to aid hospitals and nursing homes in the care and treatment of patients with coronavirus. OSHA has worked hard to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and other variants so that the safety of healthcare workers can be protected. In this initiative, OSHA has encouraged more compliance training that prepares healthcare staff for future outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2.
Summary of OSHA Initiative
The COVID-19 Focused Inspection Initiative in Healthcare was made to increase the following of OSHA procedures in hospitals with high risks of exposure. Healthcare employers are asked to ensure that all workplace policies protect staff from hazards associated with COVID-19. Therefore, OSHA has been conducting focused, partial-scope inspections of these healthcare facilities. The number of inspections is determined based on criteria such as the number of coronavirus cases and recommendations.
Under OSHA’s initiative, healthcare establishments may be selected for a focused healthcare inspection if they meet one of the three following criteria. First, if a facility has received a prior evaluation related to a COVID-19 citation or hazard alert letter, then a follow-up inspection may occur. Next, hospitals and care centers facing COVID-19 complaints or Rapid Response Investigations may be randomly selected for an inspection. Lastly, if previous COVID-19 citations have been issued, an establishment may be randomly selected for a monitoring inspection.
Sites Eligible for Inspection
All previously inspected facilities that have received COVID-19 citations or hazard alert letters are eligible for focused inspections. Additionally, centers that have received COVID-19 complaints or Rapid Response Investigations are considered eligible.
Evaluating COVID-19 Procedures
OSHA’s COVID-19 Focused Inspection Initiative in Healthcare assesses healthcare facilities on several different COVID-19 policies and mitigation strategies. If an establishment has received previous citations, corrective actions must be shown. Also, employers are evaluated on whether their facilities include a COVID-19 plan that features control measures in response to COVID-19. There also must be an effective vaccination status system to account for vaccinated and unvaccinated members of staff.
Further, Injury and Illness Logs must be provided with COVID-19 specific case information included. The establishment must also enforce protocols on the appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Finally, healthcare employers will be asked to provide records of respiratory protection programs, which help to limit staff from being exposed to respiratory hazards.
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United States Department of Labor (2022, March 2). COVID-19 Focused Inspection Initiative in Healthcare. Retrieved from: https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/standardinterpretations/2022-03-02