WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has unveiled new safety and health guidance that will help healthcare workers and their employers prepare for a possible influenza pandemic.
The agency released Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response Guidance for Healthcare Workers and Healthcare Employers on Monday.
“During an influenza pandemic, the healthcare community will be on the front line,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke Jr. “This new guidance provides information and tools to help protect healthcare workers.”
A comprehensive resource for healthcare planners and practitioners, the new guidance offers information and tools to assist the industry in preparing for and responding to an influenza pandemic.
It includes technical information on infection control and industrial hygiene practices to reduce the risk of infection in healthcare settings; workplace preparations and planning issues; and OSHA standards that have special importance to pandemic preparedness planners and responders in the industry.
There is a specific section for work practices related to Linens and Laundry:
“The following precautions are recommended for handling linens and laundry that might be contaminated with respiratory secretions from patients with pandemic influenza:
The complete document can be found at www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA_pandemic_health.pdf.
OSHA directs those seeking additional information to see the Laundry and Bedding section in Guidelines for Environmental Infection Control in Health-Care Facilities, 2003, which can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.