Thursday, May 28, 2009

OSHA Publishes Guidance Documents for Pandemic Influenza

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have published five documents dealing with pandemic influenza. The documents are:
  • Healthcare Workplaces Classified as Very High or High Exposure Risk for Pandemic Influenza” – OSHA designed this fact sheet to assist healthcare workplaces and to protect these workers from exposure to pandemic influenza. Using the Occupational Risk Pyramid (at left) it defines who are very high or high risk and recommends engineering controls, administrative controls, work practices, and PPE to protect these workers.
  • What Employers Can Do to Protect Workers from Pandemic Influenza” – this fact sheet recommends engineering controls, administrative controls, work practices, and personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Protect Yourself Pandemic Flu Respiratory Protection” – this quick card defines who needs a respirator based exposure risk, defines minimum level of protection as N95 respirator, states that surgical masks are not respirators, and OSHA requirements for a respiratory protection program.
  • How to Protect Yourself in the Workplace during a Pandemic” – this quick card lists suggested precautions and actions workers should take to reduce risk of becoming ill with pandemic influenza.
  • Respiratory Infection Control: Respirators Versus Surgical Masks” – this fact sheet defines the difference between respirators, such as filtering facepiece (used to be known as dust masks) and half mask respirators, and surgical masks, which are a physical barrier to protect users from hazards, such as splashes of large droplets of blood or body fluids. NIOSH certifies all respirators, including filtering facepieces, visit their website for recent warnings for respirator users ( NIOSH does not certify surgical masks to prevent inhalation of small airborne contaminants. Only surgical masks cleared by the Food and Drug Administration have been tested for their ability to resist blood and bodily fluids.

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