Permanent COVID-19 Standard for Healthcare Workers Still Slated for the Fall

The recently released spring rulemaking agenda reflected a September 2022 target for a permanent COVID-19 rule for healthcare workers. Although the spring rulemaking agenda outlines a non-binding schedule, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker has confirmed that the permanent COVID-19 standard should meet, or at worst nearly meet the September timeline.

In a July 25, 2022, filing for the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Parker provided the following statement:

“For months, many OSHA staff, along with their counterparts in DOL’s Office of the Solicitor, have worked tirelessly to review and analyze the rulemaking record and prepare a final rule. Because of their efforts, the Agency remains on track to complete a final healthcare standard in the September to October timeframe that it previously indicated to the Court. It is OSHA’s primary goal to finalize a healthcare standard as quickly as possible.”

This filing was made in the case In Re: National Nurses United, et al. (Docket No. 22-1002), in which a group of unions requested a writ of mandamus requiring OSHA to enforce the Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard (the “Healthcare ETS”) issued on June 21, 2021, until superseded by a permanent standard.

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