As the novel coronavirus outbreak continues to evolve, OSHA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have posted guidance on their websites for dealing with the virus.
While there’s no evidence of ongoing transmission of the virus in the U.S. at this time, according to OSHA, both agencies wanted to address exposure prevention for those most likely to be exposed.
The CDC reports Chinese authorities identified the new coronavirus, resulting in confirmed infections in China along with exported cases outside of China in the United States, Thailand, Japan and South Korea.
Information on the virus and the severity of its symptoms is still incomplete, with reported illnesses ranging from infected people with no symptoms to people who are severely ill and dying, and the CDC webpage states that investigations into the virus are ongoing.
Early cases of the virus were linked to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread, but the number of patients who have had no exposure to animal markets is growing, and there’s other evidence suggesting the virus is spreading between people.
China has reported spread of the virus from infected patients to healthcare workers, according to OSHA’s webpage.
Who’s most at risk?
Without sustained human-to-human transmission in the U.S., most American workers aren’t at significant risk of infection, but workers involved in airline operations, healthcare and border protection may be exposed to travelers infected with the virus in China or other affected areas.
Business travelers who visit areas where the virus is spreading may also be at a higher risk of exposure.
However, it’s still unclear how easily the virus is spreading among human beings.
To reduce exposure, the CDC recommends:
- everyone get vaccinated and take regular preventive actions to stop the spread of germs
- healthcare professionals be on the look-out for people with fever and respiratory symptoms who recently traveled to Wuhan, China, and
- travelers stay up to date with CDC’s travel health notices related to this outbreak.
Need more information?
Premier Learning Solutions is offering a live workshop, Coronavirus in the Workplace: Employers’ Duty to Protect Employees, on Monday, March 16, 2020, at 1 pm (ET).
The workshop will cover:
- OSHA’s requirements for protecting against infectious diseases
- disease prevention & control best practices for employers, and
- employer responsibility for employee protection: What you need to know.
The speaker is Adele L. Abrams, a nationally recognized authority on Occupational Safety and Health law.
For this one hour program, you can claim 0.05 continuance of certification points (COCs) from the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BSCP).
Click here for registration and more information.