As dental practices reopen, dental personnel are going to be using more respirators. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released a new video and poster that teach employers and employees alike how to properly wear and remove them.
Properly worn respirators can help personnel reduce their risk of viral exposure and help prevent its spread to others, OSHA said. Produced in English and Spanish, the video and poster describe seven steps in properly putting on and taking off a respirator:
- Wash your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60% alcohol before putting on and after removing the respirator.
- Inspect the respirator for damage.
- Cover your mouth and nose with the respirator and pull the strap over your head so it rests at the back of your head. A second strap should rest at the back of your neck. Use the metal nose clips to mold the respirator to the shape of your nose.
- Adjust the respirator by placing both of your hands over it and inhaling and exhaling. Readjust the straps if air leaks from the respirator’s edges.
- Avoid touching the respirator while wearing it.
- Remove the respirator by grabbing the straps from behind. Do not touch the front of the respirator.
- If the respirator does not need to be reused because of supply shortages, discard it in a closed-bin waste receptacle.
OSHA’s Publications webpage offers other workplace safety information. OSHA also has published Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, which aims to help workers and employers about ways to protect themselves and their workplaces during the pandemic. OSHA says it updates COVID-19 webpage frequently as well.