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COVID-19 pandemic: OSHA issues safety alert for long-term care facilities

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Washington — A new safety alert from OSHA lists steps that owners of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities should take to reduce worker exposure and potential transmission during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The alert calls on employers to encourage workers to stay home when sick, as well as report any safety or health concerns. The agency recommends screening workers and residents for symptoms; maintaining a physical distance of 6 feet between workers, residents and visitors; and considering alternatives to large in-person gatherings such as staff meetings and resident activities. Employees and residents who have been exposed to COVID-19 need to be closely monitored, and employers should take additional precautions.

 

Other recommendations:

  • Ensure workers have and use personal protective equipment.
  • Continually monitor the stock of PPE, burn rate and supply chains. Develop a process to decontaminate and reuse PPE, as appropriate, and follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for optimization of PPE supplies.
  • Stagger break periods to avoid group gatherings.
  • Provide handwashing facilities and hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect shared equipment and frequently touched surfaces in resident rooms, staff workstations and common areas.
  • Use disinfectant products listed by the Environmental Protection Agency as effective against the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes COVID-19.

The alert is available in English and Spanish.

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