As hospitals under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) authority have been actively implementing the emergency temporary standard (ETS) released on June 10, the American Hospital Association has been encouraging hospitals to comment on the regulation, arguing that the “OSHA COVID-19 ETS would jeopardize … the collective efforts by the field to follow the science-based … guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention …”
However, for California and other states operating under an OSHA state plan, federal regulations serve as a floor — the regulation specifically states that it is does NOT preempt more stringent state and local laws. As Cal/OSHA regulations are more stringent, California hospitals must follow existing California guidance and regulations on masking and social distancing. While commenting on the federal ETS may be appropriate for hospitals outside of California, it will not alter the existing workplace safety regulations in California.
CHA will continue to update its members on any federal or state updates to COVID-19 standards or guidance. Please reach out to your OSHA counsel if you have any questions.