With flu season upon us, dental staff should be screening patients for aerosol transmissible diseases (ATDs) such as influenza, measles, and tuberculosis prior to treating patients. In California, Cal/OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Disease Standard requires healthcare providers, including dental offices, to follow certain precautions to prevent exposure to ATD’s.
Because dentists do not treat patients for symptoms caused by ATDs and do not perform any procedures that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers “cough-inducing”, dentists are conditionally-exempt from Cal/OSHA’s requirements, if all of the following conditions are met:
- Dental procedures are not performed on patients screened and then identified as ATD cases or suspected ATD cases. The dental practice screens patients for ATDs using health history forms, and defers dental treatment for any patients with active infection. The written Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) required by Cal/OSHA includes a written procedure for screening patients for ATDs that is consistent with CDC Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health-Care Settings – 2003. This procedure is followed before performing any dental procedure on a patient to determine whether the patient may present an ATD exposure risk.
- The dental office follows Dental Board of California’s infection control requirements and CDC recommendations for dental infection control.
- Dental staff have been trained on the ATD screening procedures in accordance with the dental office’s IIPP.
While only California dentists must comply with these requirements, these are prudent practices for all dentists.
For our OSHA Review subscribers… The July/August 2013 issue of OSHA Review in Section X of your binder covers ATD requirements in California.
Since 1992, OSHA Review, Inc. has provided dental professionals with comprehensive programs to support regulatory compliance and infection control. We are a registered continuing education provider in the state of California, specializing in Dental Practice Act, infection control, and OSHA training.