OSHA says a collection of its existing standards apply to keeping employees who may come in contact with the Ebola virus safe.
OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens standard (1910.1030) covers exposure to Ebola virus since it’s a contact-transmissible disease covered by the standard.
In situations in which workers may be exposed to bioaerosols containing Ebola virus, employers must also follow OSHA’s Respiratory Protection standard (1910.134).
Other elements of infection control for Ebola are covered under OSHA’s Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) standard (1910.132).
OSHA says most U.S. workers are unlikely to encounter Ebola virus or people who have contracted it.
Contact it more likely in certain industries, including:
- mortuary/death care, and
- airline services.
OSHA has also provided more specific information for industries in which workers are more likely to encounter Ebola.
OSHA says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the authoritative source for information for healthcare workers who care for, treat or interact with patients who are known to or are suspected of having contracted Ebola.
- surgical scrubs or disposable garments under PPE
- dedicated washable footwear
- double gloves
- boot covers that are waterproof and extend to at least mid-calf, or leg covers
- single-use fluid-resistant or impermeable gown that extends to at least mid-calf or coverall without integrated hood
- disposable N95 or powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR)
- disposable full-face shield
- surgical hoods to ensure complete coverage of the head and neck, and
- a waterproof apron that covers the torso to the level of the mid-calf should be used with Ebola patients who have vomiting or diarrhea.
Employers must also train healthcare workers on when and how to use the PPE, including how to put it on, take it off and dispose of it.
Healthcare workers should put on PPE in this order:
- first pair of gloves
- mask or respirator
- face shield or goggles, then
- second pair of gloves.
Used gowns, gloves and disposable masks should be disposed of in a labeled waste container. Reusable goggles, face shields, respirators and other equipment must be decontaminated before re-use.