Tuberculosis (TB) is a serious threat to healthcare workers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that of the 9,582 cases of TB in the United States in 2013, approximately 383 of those cases were contracted by healthcare workers.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has updated its instructions on inspections and issuing citations related to TB exposure in healthcare settings. These guidelines also include inspections at sites where emergency medical services are performed and labs that may handle specimens containing tuberculosis. The new directive incorporates guidance from the 2005 CDC report, “Guidelines for Preventing the Transmission of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis in Health-Care Settings.”
The OSHA directive updates inspection procedures and does not place any additional enforcement burdens on the employer. The directive also introduces new screening methods for blood analysis, risk classifications of healthcare settings and reducing the frequency of TB screenings for healthcare workers.
More information is available at osha.gov.