Health care/social assistance Occupational illnesses Workplace exposures

Nurses union calls on OSHA to follow Cal/OSHA Ebola standards

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Photo: nito100/iStock/Thinkstock

Sacramento, CA – National Nurses United is urging OSHA and state governments to help protect nurses and other health care workers from Ebola by adopting safety standards issued by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

Cal/OSHA released updated guidance on Nov. 14 requiring all state hospitals to provide workers at risk of exposure to Ebola with personal protective equipment that covers the entire body. The standards are more expansive than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations, according to Cal/OSHA.

More than 60,000 people have signed a petition asking the federal government to require hospitals to adopt the Ebola guidelines, NNU stated in a press release.

The Cal/OSHA standards expand on interim guidelines released on Oct. 15 and include the following:

  • Hospitals must provide powered air-purifying respirators with a full hood to protect the head, face and neck.
  • Workers must be trained and allowed to practice putting on and taking off PPE.
  • Workers must be provided medical services that include monitoring, testing and removal from work in case of an exposure.