California fights aerosol transmissible diseases

The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) has recently adopted a new regulation to prevent aerosol transmissible diseases (ATDs) at healthcare facilities, according to the California Dental Association (CDA).

These diseases include influenza, chickenpox, tuberculosis, and several more.

Most dental practices and many specialty medical practices will be exempt from the regulation, as long as the practices comply with specific conditions, including the following:

  • The dental practice does not perform dental procedures on patients with ATDs or who are suspected ATD cases.
  • The dental practice's Injury and Illness Prevention Plan includes a written procedure for screening patients for ATDs that is consistent with current U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for infection control in dental settings, and this procedure is followed before performing any dental procedure on a patient to determine whether the patient may present an ATD exposure risk.
  • Employees have been trained in the screening procedure.

The regulation is effective August 5, and can be found on the California Department of Industrial Relations Web site.

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