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OSHA Emergency Standard Giving Nurses New Protections from COVID-19

Posted about 1 year ago by Pamela DiNapoli

The Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requires that employers provide better protections for nurses by developing and implementing plans to identify and control COVID-19 hazards in the workplace. Nurses who care directly for patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 must also be protected by approved respirators, which include single-use N95 respirators, elastomeric respirators, and powered air-purifying respirators (PAPR). Employers must also provide gloves, gowns, and eye protection. This requirement applies regardless of the nurses’ vaccination status. Employers are also required to screen health care personnel daily for COVID-19, provide COVID-19 tests at no charge to the employee, and to support employees to receive COVID-19 vaccinations.  ANA's response states:  “ANA has been calling for specific safety protections from COVID-19 since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and while this ETS is beneficial, it is not a replacement for a permanent standard with strong respiratory protections, which remains a necessity....More must be done to protect our nation’s nurses and frontline health care workers from the ravages of this pandemic.”