The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued an alert listing safety tips employers can follow to help protect dental industry workers from exposure to the coronavirus. These measures include:
- Encourage workers to stay home if they are sick.
- Maximize the use of telemedicine for non-emergency consultations and prioritize urgent and emergency procedures.
- Install physical barriers or partitions between patient treatment areas.
- Provide adequate ventilation and airflow in patient treatment areas so air moves away from staff work areas.
- Frequently clean and disinfect surfaces and equipment with hospital-grade, Environmental Protection Agency-approved cleaning chemicals or with cleaners that have label claims against the coronavirus.
- Minimize the number of staff present when aerosol-generating procedures are performed and ensure staff who are present are appropriately protected.
- Provide appropriate personal protective equipment such as eye goggles, face shields, and N95 respirators as necessary to protect dental practitioners and support personnel.
- Encourage workers to report any safety and health concerns.
The alert is available to download in both in English and Spanish. OSHA also provides additional guidance for dental industry workers along with other workplace safety information. OSHA offers Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 and additional resources related to the virus as well.