The Biden administration is implementing Covid-19 workplace safety rules for millions of healthcare workers, limiting a plan that could have extended across industries.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Thursday said the new rules would apply only to healthcare settings, including hospitals, nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. The Labor Department estimates approximately 10 million healthcare workers—or about 7% of the overall workforce—will fall under the rules.
“It’s been very tricky with guidance and the virus changing over the last couple of months,” Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said. OSHA is a part of the Labor Department. “The science tells us that healthcare workers, particularly those who come into regular contact with the virus, are most at risk at this point in the pandemic.”
The rule will take effect after it is published in the Federal Register, the exact timing of which is unclear.
Under the new regulation, healthcare employers must develop a written plan to address Covid-19, provide personal protective equipment to some employees and ensure workers remain 6 feet apart.