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COVID-19 pandemic: OSHA publishes guidance for dental workers

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Washington — To help protect dental office workers from exposure to COVID-19, OSHA has developed guidance for employers.

The guidance includes a chart to help determine risk exposure level by categories of dentistry tasks. It also features use of the Hierarchy of Controls, including the types of personal protective equipment needed for dental work on patients without COVID-19 versus patients suspected of having or confirmed to have the respiratory disease.

In March, the American Dental Association recommended that dental offices remain closed except for emergency or urgent procedures.


“OSHA further recommends that emergency dental procedures be performed on patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 only if appropriate precautions, including PPE, are available and used,” the guidance states. “Employers should remain alert of changing outbreak conditions, including as they relate to community spread of the virus and testing availability, and implement infection prevention measures accordingly.”

Dental offices must adhere to OSHA standards for bloodborne pathogens (1910.1030), respiratory protection (1910.134) and PPE (1901.132), among others.

The guidance also features recommendations on cleaning and disinfection.

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