As Coronavirus concern rises, the state-run agency issues recommendations about protecting employees.
Health care workers exposed to the coronavirus need to take extra precautions when caring for patients.
State-run Cal/OSHA has issued guidance that covers safety requirements when providing care for suspected or confirmed patients of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) or when handling pathogens in laboratory settings, where the risk for infection is higher.
“It is vital that employers take the necessary steps to protect workers in health care settings where they may be at risk of exposure to 2019 Novel Coronavirus,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Doug Parker in a statement. “Cal/OSHA will provide guidance and resources on how to protect workers from this airborne infectious disease.”
2019-nCoV is an airborne infectious disease covered by Cal/OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (ATD) standard, which requires employers to protect workers from diseases and pathogens transmitted by aerosols and droplets and to provide training on the:
- Signs and symptoms of 2019-nCoV.
- Modes of transmission of the disease and source control procedures.
- Tasks and activities that may expose the employee to 2019-nCoV.
- Use and limitations of methods to prevent or reduce exposure to the disease including decontamination and disinfection procedures.
- Selection of personal protective equipment, its uses and limitations, and the types, proper use, location, removal, handling, cleaning, decontamination and disposal of protective equipment.
- Proper use of respirators.
- Available vaccines, when they become available.
- Employer’s plan if an exposure incident occurs and surge plan, if applicable.
Cal/OSHA states that employers must utilize feasible engineering and work practice controls to minimize employee exposure to 2019-nCoV, which include airborne infection isolation rooms or areas, exhaust ventilation, air filtration and air disinfection.
Work practice controls include procedures for safely moving patients through the operation or facility, handwashing, personal protective equipment donning and doffing procedures, the use of anterooms, and cleaning and disinfecting contaminated surfaces, protective equipment, articles and linens.Source: EHS Today