The Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Friday, November 20, issued a compliance directive to ensure uniform inspection procedures to identify and minimize or eliminate high- to very high-risk occupational exposures to H1N1 flu among frontline health care and emergency medical workers.
According to OSHA, the directive closely follows guidance issued by the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
OSHA said its inspectors will ensure that employers in the health care industry implement a series of controls, encourage employees to receive vaccines and implement other work practices recommended by the CDC. In cases where respirators are required, OSHA’s respiratory protection standard must be followed.
“OSHA has a responsibility to ensure that the more than 9 million frontline health care workers in the United States are protected to the extent possible against exposure to the virus,” acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Jordan Barab said in a statement. “OSHA will ensure health care employers use proper controls to protect all workers, particularly those who are at high or very high risk of exposure.”