This guidance is not a standard or regulation, and it creates no new legal obligations. It contains recommendations as well as descriptions of mandatory safety and health standards. The recommendations are advisory in nature, informational in content, and are intended to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Act requires employers to comply with safety and health standards and regulations promulgated by OSHA or by a state with an OSHA-approved state plan. In addition, the Act's General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1), requires employers to provide their employees with a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm.

Given the frontline nature of the work, the healthcare industry has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic like none other. To put that into context, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there are more than 123,000 registered nurses working in Illinois. But healthcare workers extend well beyond the hospital setting, with many working for small and midsized healthcare companies, and there are more than 81,000 people providing home healthcare in Illinois.

To help ensure that small and midsize healthcare firms in Illinois thrive, each one must do everything it can to both protect their employees and ensure the health and safety of the patients they serve. COVID-19 issues specific to small and midsized healthcare companies that must be addressed include:

  1. Maintaining an appropriate supply of PPE
  2. Consistent monitoring of healthcare workers for COVID-19 symptoms
  3. Lack of ability to social distance between healthcare worker and patient
  4. Sterilization of areas in patients' homes
  5. Management of patient visitors, especially in home settings
  6. Meal preparation for in-home patients
  7. Educating patients about COVID-19 symptoms and prevention
  8. Inability to work remotely
The Illinois Department of Labor wants to help Illinois' small and midsize healthcare firms operate safely and effectively to ensure the revitalization of the state's economy. If you operate a healthcare business in our state with 250 or fewer employees and would like to schedule a free, confidential health and safety consultation to review your operation and identify best practices for your business, please click here.

The Illinois Department of Labor also offers a COVID-19 Back to Business digital self-certification. This online tutorial will guide you through essential measures and best practices designed to get your business operating safely and effectively. Click here for more information on our self-certification.