OSHA ETS guidelines largely exempt dental offices

On June 14, ADA President Daniel J. Klemmedson, D.D.S., M.D., reported that 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 the 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. These include:

  • Pre-appointment screenings are still necessary.
  • Everyone (patients, non-employees onsite, 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.

From the onset of the pandemic, supporting our members has been a joint effort across the tripartite--ADA, NYSDA and your local dental societies. These guidelines demonstrate that OSHA and White House officials listened when the ADA shared dentistry’s proven ability to practice safely through this pandemic.

The low infection rate data collected by the ADA is the same information NYSDA shared with the Governor and Lieutenant Governor., the Speaker of the Assembly, the Deputy Majority Leader of the Senate, the Health Department, legislators across the entire state, and the Governor’s “Reopening New York” Advisory Task Force, which  successfully reopened dentistry in June of 2020. As these reports are updated, we continue to share them with state leaders to demonstrate the ongoing safety of dentistry. View daily legislative updates on our website.