OSHA’s long-awaited Infectious Disease Standard is now back on the agenda. Expecting to launch in 2023, this standard will have four main components ─ respiratory protection, vaccinations and titers, and tuberculosis testing. If you already have a screening and recordkeeping process for these components, great! If your processes are still a bit unorganized, having a full-service occupational health provider is the best way to get your programs off the ground.
Let’s get into the four things you can start doing now to prep for OSHA’s Infectious Disease Standard!
1. RESPIRATORY PROTECTION
All PPE requirements will be drawn from OSHA’s respiratory protection standard. This is all about making sure your employee’s respirators are actually protecting them. Annual OSHA medical evaluations and respirator fit testing ensure that your employees are cleared to wear their mask and that their mask is the right size, make, and model for their facial structure. If your employees are required to wear full-face masks, they will need to do annual quantitative fit testing. If your employees wear half-face masks, they can do both quantitative or qualitative fit testing.
2. VACCINES & TITERS
Employee immunity through vaccines and titers plays a huge role in compliance with OSHA’s Infectious Disease Standard. This means employees may need to stay up to date on Varicella, MMR, TD, TDAP, flu, COVID, and Hepatitis immunizations depending on your industry. If your employees are already receiving these vaccines, make sure to complete OSHA-compliant recordkeeping for these documents. If your employees have had their vaccines but do not have to the documentation, they will need to complete titer testing for documented proof.
3. TUBERCULOSIS TESTING
Tuberculosis is typically a pre-employment and annual requirement according to previous OSHA standards. This is likely to be the same for the new Infectious Disease Standard. Thankfully, employee TB testing is now easier than ever through QuantiFERON-TB blood tests. Rather than the normal two-visit process, QuantiFERON tests clear your employees with one appointment. When you choose an occupational health provider, these results will come straight from the lab to an OSHA-ready portal.
4. WHAT NEXT?
A lot of these requirements are already in play across many industries. If there are any of these protocols you don’t have implemented, start talking with your HR or compliance team and see what you want your plan of action to be. And as always, start making sure your current recordkeeping for these types of documents isn’t a mess. You’ll thank us later. If you have more questions or want to brainstorm some options, talk to one of our experts! We have been providing all of these services to our clients for 38 years and can take this completely off your plate.