Letter to the Editor
I come to you today with an informational message from OSHA. As many already know, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) assures safe and healthful working conditions by setting and enforcing standards, and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance. Its parent company is the U.S. Department of Labor.
Most businesses in our communities have been returning to a life of masks being optional…a condition quite attractive to most of us who have tired from the restrictive nature of donning a mask whenever we leave home. I hear more and more comments around town, and especially when at work, as to “why does the hospital continue to enforce mask wearing”. Well, I am unfortunately going to give you the message today, that as a healthcare facility, we are going to be encumbered with mask wearing at least until OSHA relaxes its current position. We have recently been visited by an OSHA educating representative, who alerted us to the high likelihood of a formal hospital survey to soon be conducted by an auditing OSHA team. OSHA standards, by the way, supersede any State issued standards.
OSHA has taken the firm position that the COVID-19 threat has not changed since March 2020, and that this position as it pertains to healthcare facilities will not be lifted before March of 2022…irrespective of your vaccination status! That means that our hospital/clinic lives must continue as was dictated sixteen months ago, and we will continue to screen patients at our entry points, and we will continue to enforce social distancing and mask wearing within our enclosed spaces. Fines for not doing such will be in the several thousand dollar range, per violation.
Therefore, no matter what many of us internally would like to change, we have basically been told by the Federal Government that all hospitals/clinics need to maintain every single precaution that was highly recommended during the peak penetration period of our pandemic. I apologize to those of you that would like to see otherwise.
Thank you for your understanding, as we continue with safety precautions on our hospital and clinic premises.
Kevin Leeper, CEO – Morris County Hospital