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ANSI COVID-19 News: Updates to the National Emphasis Program, Guidance for K-12 Schools, and Interim Guidance on People Experiencing Unsheltered Homelessness

7/09/2021

The ANSI Federation and standardization community are stepping up with guidance, resources, and initiatives to support public health and safety and the nation's recovery. Suggestions for news items may be submitted to [email protected]. All submissions are published at ANSI's discretion.

OSHA Revises Its National Emphasis Program, Updates Interim Enforcement Response Plan for COVID-19

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced this month it has revised its National Emphasis Program (NEP) for COVID-19. OSHA launched the NEP on March 12, 2021, to focus on companies that put the largest number of workers at serious risk of contracting the coronavirus, and on employers that engage in retaliation against employees who complain about unsafe or unhealthful conditions or exercise other rights under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

Based on an evaluation of inspection and illness data, the revised NEP adjusts the targeted industries to those most at risk for COVID-19 exposure, but still includes healthcare and non-healthcare, such as meat and poultry processing. For inspections in healthcare, the revised NEP refers compliance safety and health officers (CSHOs) to the new directive, Inspection Procedures for the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standardwhich was issued on June 28, 2021.

Inspections in non-healthcare establishments will follow procedures outlined in the Updated Interim Enforcement Response Plan published July 7, 2021. The goals of the IERP are to identify exposures to COVID-19 hazards, ensure appropriate control measures are implemented, and address violations of OSHA standards and the General Duty Clause.

For more information, read OSHA’s trade release.

CDC Updates Guidance for K-12 Schools, People Experiencing Unsheltered Homelessness

On July 9, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced new guidelines for K-12 schools aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19 and maintaining safe operations. These new guidelines include:

  • Added information on offering and promoting COVID-19 vaccination
  • Updates to emphasize the need for localities to monitor community transmission, vaccination coverage, screening testing, and occurrence of outbreaks to guide decisions on the level of layered prevention strategies
  • Revisions that emphasize COVID-19 prevention strategies most important for in-person learning for K-12 schools
  • Added language on the importance of offering in-person learning, regardless of whether all of the prevention strategies can be implemented at the school
  • Updates to align with guidance for fully vaccinated people
  • Updates to align with current mask guidance
  • Added language on safety and health protections for workers in K-12 schools

The CDC also announced on July 8, 2021, an update to their Interim Guidance on People Experience Unsheltered Homelessness, originally released on May 10, 2020. This interim guidance is intended to support response to COVID-19 by local and state health departments, homelessness service systems, housing authorities, emergency planners, healthcare facilities, and homeless outreach services.

The July 8 update includes added information on vaccination for people experiencing unsheltered homelessness and updated considerations based on vaccination status.

See more ANSI member efforts in the ANSI COVID-19 Resource Webpage Highlighting Standardization Community Response.

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Beth Goodbaum

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