WASHINGTON — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is requesting information and comment on occupational exposure to infectious agents in settings where healthcare is provided. Such facilities include hospitals, outpatient clinics, school clinics, correctional facilities, medical examiner offices, mortuaries, and laboratories that handle potentially infectious biological materials.
OSHA is interested in strategies used to mitigate the risk of work-acquired infectious diseases. As such, it is collecting data on facilities and the tasks potentially exposing workers to this risk, successful employee infection-control programs, control methodologies being utilized (including engineering, work practice, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment), medical surveillance programs, and training.
“All workplaces must be safe workplaces,” says Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. “We know that workers in healthcare and related facilities may be exposed to infectious agents, and they deserve to be protected. Preventing infectious disease among workers also will reduce exposure to their family members and to patients.”
OSHA will use the information it receives to determine what action, if any, the agency may take to further limit the spread of occupationally acquired infectious diseases in these types of settings.
OSHA asks that comments be submitted by Aug. 4. To submit comments, or for more information, click here.