Dental practices are mostly exempt from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) new Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to protect healthcare workers from COVID-19 in recognition of the profession's ability to practice safely during the pandemic.
Those most likely to be affected by the new standard include hospital-based oral surgery practices and dentists who provide care for COVID-19 patients, according to ADA News. The American Dental Association has summarized the findings and created a fact sheet to help dentists understand the OSHA ETS. All dental practices must continue to follow some key guidelines, according to the ADA OSHA ETS fact sheet:
- Pre-appointment screenings are still necessary.
- Everyone (patients, non-employees on site, and staff) must be screened prior to entry, and those with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not permitted to enter.
- Dental practices must have a written COVID-19 plan.
- A state OSHA or other local regulatory body may enact a more stringent standard, including one that does cover dental offices.
OSHA has also issued the attached fact sheet and flow chart explaining its ETS. The ETS takes effect upon publication in the Federal Register, which has not yet occurred. OSHA has only published the ETS regulations on its own website, which is not the same as publication in the Federal Register (the official publication for all federal regulations).
ADA Key Fact Sheet