OSHA has determined that employee exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, presents a grave danger to workers in healthcare settings where people with COVID-19 are reasonably expected to be present and has issued an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to address the hazard. One of the key requirements of the ETS is the COVID-19 Plan. We'll be discussing the various elements of the COVID-19 Plan and ETS thoughout the next two modules.
The rules in OSHA 1910.502, Healthcare, help protect healthcare workers when treating suspected or confirmed coronavirus patients. This includes employees working in:
This section applies to all settings where any employee provides healthcare services or healthcare support services.
Exceptions: Click the button to see the exceptions to this rule.
Note: OSHA does not intend to preclude the employers of employees who are unable to be vaccinated from the exemption. Under various anti-discrimination laws, workers who cannot be vaccinated because of medical conditions, such as allergies to vaccine ingredients, or certain religious beliefs may ask for a reasonable accommodation from their employer. Where an employer reasonably accommodates an employee who is unable to be vaccinated in a manner that does not expose the employee to COVID-19 hazards (e.g., telework, working in isolation), that employer may be within the scope exemption in paragraphs (4) and (5) above.
Where a healthcare setting is embedded within a non-healthcare setting (e.g., medical clinic in a manufacturing facility, walk-in clinic in a retail setting), this section applies only to the embedded healthcare setting and not to the remainder of the physical location.
Where emergency responders or other licensed healthcare providers enter a non-healthcare setting to provide healthcare services, this section applies only to the provision of the healthcare services by that employee.
PPE, physical distancing, and physical barrier requirements do not apply to employees who are fully vaccinated and in well-defined areas where there is no reasonable expectation that any person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 will be present.
Nothing in this section is intended to limit state or local government mandates or guidance (e.g., executive order, health department order) that go beyond the requirements of and are not inconsistent with this section.
You are encouraged to follow public health guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) even when not required by this section.
Read the material in each section to find the correct answers to each of the questions. After answering all questions, click the "Check Quiz Answers" button to see your score and a list of missed questions. To correct a question, return to the question, review the material, change your answer, and return to the last section page. Click the "Check Quiz Answers" again to recheck the results.
Do not refresh these pages or you'll have to answer all questions again.
Note: Videos and exercises in our courses are for information only and not required to view. Final exam questions will not be derived from the videos. OSHAcademy is not responsible for video content.
Use your mouse to scroll through the definitions related to this rule.
If you have more than 10 employees and are covered by the requirements of 1910.502(a), you must do the following:
Communicate and Coordinate: Effectively communicate and coordinate with other employers. When employees of different employers share the same physical location, each employer must:
This requirement does not apply to delivery people, messengers, and other employees who only enter a workplace briefly to drop off or pick up items.
If you have one or more employees working in a physical location controlled by another employer:
You may include other policies, procedures, or information necessary to comply with any applicable federal, state, or local public health laws, standards, and guidelines in the COVID-19 plan.
In settings where you provide direct patient care, you must:
You are encouraged to use telehealth services where available and appropriate in order to limit the number of people entering the workplace.
Develop and implement policies and procedures to adhere to Standard and Transmission-Based Precautions in accordance with CDC’s "Guidelines for Isolation Precautions."
Exceptions: The following are exceptions to the above requirements for facemasks:
when employees cannot wear facemasks due to a medical necessity, medical condition, or disability, or a religious belief.
Exceptions must be provided for a narrow subset of persons with a disability who cannot wear a facemask or cannot safely wear a facemask, because of the disability, as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 USC 12101 et seq.), including a person who cannot independently remove the facemask. The remaining portion of the subset who cannot wear a facemask may be exempted on a case-by-case basis as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and other applicable laws. In these situations, ensure that employees wear a face shield for the protection of the employee, if their condition or disability permits it. Accommodations may also need to be made for religious beliefs consistent with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
when you can demonstrate that the use of a facemask presents a hazard to an employee of serious injury or death (e.g., arc flash, heat stress, interfering with the safe operation of equipment).
Ensure that each employee wears alternative PPE, such as a face shield, if conditions permit it. Any employee not wearing a facemask must remain at least 6 feet away from all other people unless you can prove it is not feasible. The employee must resume wearing a facemask when not engaged in the activity where the facemask presents a hazard.
With respect to the above situations, you may determine that the use of face shields, without facemasks, in certain settings is not appropriate due to other infection control concerns.
Cleaning: When you require the use of face shields, ensure that they are cleaned at least daily and are not damaged.
Employee-provided face shields: When an employee provides a proper face shield, you may allow the employee to use it and you are not required to reimburse the employee for that face shield.
CDC does not recommend external using face shields or goggles as a substitute for masks. According to research, face shields only block about 2% of a cough aerosol. Goggles or other eye protection may be used in addition to a mask.
Respirators and other PPE when exposure suspected or confirmed COVID-19: You must provide respirators and other PPE during aerosol-generating or other procedures when your employees have exposure to a person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. You must also ensure that employees use appropriate PPE in accordance with subpart I, Personal Protective Equipment. Appropriate PPE includes:
When there is a limited supply of filtering facepiece respirators, you may follow the CDC’s Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of N95 Respirators. Where possible, you are encouraged to select elastomeric respirators or PAPRs instead of filtering facepiece respirators:
Additional requirements specific to aerosol-generating procedures on people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are contained in paragraph (g). For more information visit CDC's National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL).
Use of respirators when not required
Respirators and other PPE based on Standard and Transmission-Based Precautions
Precautions. You must provide protective clothing and equipment to each employee based on 2 tiers of recommended precautions in healthcare settings:
When an aerosol-generating procedure is performed on a person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 you must:
You must ensure that each employee is separated from all other people by at least 6 feet when indoors unless you can prove that it is not feasible for a specific activity (e.g., hands-on medical care). This provision does not apply to momentary exposure while people are in movement (e.g., passing in hallways or aisles).
If you prove it is not feasible for an employee to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from all other people, you must ensure that the employee is as far apart from all other people as feasible.
Physical distancing can include methods such as: telehealth; telework or other remote work arrangements; reducing the number of people, including non-employees, in an area at one time; visual cues such as signs and floor markings to indicate where employees and others should be located or their direction and path of travel; staggered arrival, departure, work, and break times; and adjusted work processes or procedures to allow greater distance between employees.
At each fixed work location outside of direct patient care areas (e.g., entryway/lobby, check-in desks, triage, hospital pharmacy windows, bill payment) where each employee is not separated from all other people by at least 6 feet of distance, install cleanable or disposable solid barriers, unless you can prove doing so is not feasible. The barrier must be sized (e.g., height and width) and located to block face-to-face pathways between individuals based on where each person would normally stand or sit. The barrier may have a pass-through space at the bottom for objects and merchandise.
Physical barriers are not required in direct patient care areas or resident rooms.
In patient care areas, resident rooms, and for medical devices and equipment, follow standard practices for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces and equipment the CDC’s COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations and Guidelines for Environmental Infection Control (2019), pp. 86–103, 147-149 for guidance.
In all other areas, you must:
You must provide alcohol-based hand rub that is at least 60% alcohol or provide readily accessible hand washing facilities. CDC recommends using ABHR with 60-95% alcohol in healthcare settings. Unless hands are visibly soiled, an alcohol-based hand rub is preferred over soap and water in most clinical situations due to evidence of better compliance compared to soap and water. Hands should be washed with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when visibly soiled, before eating, and after using the restroom.
If you own or control buildings or structures with existing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system(s) you must ensure that:
Where you have airborne infection isolation rooms (AIIR), maintain and operate them in accordance with their design and construction criteria.
Read the material in each section to find the correct answer to each quiz question. After answering all the questions, click on the "Check Quiz Answers" button to grade your quiz and see your score. You will receive a message if you forgot to answer one of the questions. After clicking the button, the questions you missed will be listed below. You can correct any missed questions and check your answers again.