CMS phasing out COVID-19 blanket waivers

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that it is restoring certain minimum standards for compliance with CMS requirements for nursing and long-term care facilities. CMS will be phasing out some temporary emergency declaration waivers that have been in effect throughout the COVID-19 public health emergency. These temporary emergency waivers were designed to provide facilities with the flexibilities needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency says factors such as steadily increasing vaccination rates for nursing home residents and staff, and overall improvements seen in nursing homes’ abilities to respond to COVID-19 outbreaks played into its decision. CMS will maintain flexibility for certain requirements.

Reports of cyberattacks on power supply devices

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and Department of Energy recommended organizations take steps to prevent cyber actors from accessing uninterruptible power supply (UPS) devices through the internet. The agencies said they are aware of threat actors gaining access to a variety of internet-connected UPS devices, often through unchanged default usernames and passwords. The FBI also alerted the private sector to ransomware attacks on local government agencies that have resulted in disrupted operational services, risks to public safety and financial losses.

OSHA to track employers that fail to submit data

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is initiating an enforcement program that identifies employers who failed to submit Form 300A data through the agency’s Injury Tracking Application (ITA). Annual electronic submissions are required by establishments with 250 or more employees currently required to keep OSHA injury and illness records, and establishments with 20-249 employees classified in specific industries, including hospitals and other health care institutions. The program matches newly opened inspections against a list of potential nonresponders to OSHA’s collection of Form 300A data through the ITA and reports all matches to the appropriate OSHA area office. If the area office determines that the establishment on the list is the same establishment where the inspection was opened, OSHA will issue citations for failure to submit OSHA Form 300A summary data.

NIOSH rescinds approval for Pacific PPE respirators

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has honored a request by Pacific PPE Corp. to voluntarily rescind all NIOSH respirator approvals issued to Pacific PPE. The three rescinded approval numbers are: TC-84A-9278, TC-84A-9299 and TC-84A-9313. As of March 24, any respirator marked with a NIOSH approval label indicating any of the approval numbers listed above is no longer NIOSH-approved. Due to the voluntary rescission of these NIOSH approvals, these respirators may no longer be manufactured, assembled, sold or distributed. The NIOSH Certified Equipment List will no longer include these respirators. The list can be used to locate other NIOSH-approved respirators.