Last week, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released the Hospital Respiratory Protection Toolkit, a resource for health care employers to use to protect hospital staff from respiratory hazards.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. Appropriate respiratory protection is a vital line of defense against airborne hazards hospital workers might face on the job.
"Hospitals are one of the most hazardous places to work," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "One of the ways that we can protect workers in a health care setting is by providing employers with the resources needed to ensure a safe workplace." Respirators are used to protect against exposures to airborne transmissible infectious diseases as well as chemicals and certain drugs that may be used in healthcare settings. OSHA's Respiratory Protection Standard requires that health care employers establish and maintain a respiratory protection program in workplaces where workers may be exposed to respiratory hazards.
Healthcare Compliance Pros would encourage our clients to consider your need for respiratory protection in the workplace. The decision of whether or not to require workers to use either surgical masks or respirators must be based upon a hazard analysis of the workers' specific work environments and the different protective properties of each type of personal protective equipment.
If you have any questions about any of OSHA's standards please feel free to comment below or send us an email at [email protected] or reach us by phone toll-free at 855-427-0427.