The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends, that all personal protective equipment (PPE), including gowns, lab coats, gloves, masks, and protective eyewear or face shield, to be worn to prevent contamination of street clothes and to protect the skin of dental personnel from exposures to blood and other potentially infectious material (OPIM). Dental personnel must also remove their PPE when leaving the work area(s). Additionally, OSHA requires sleeves to be long enough to protect the forearms when the gown is worn as PPE
All protective clothing must be removed before leaving the work area. While “work area” must be defined individually on a case-by-case basis, a work area in a dental office is generally considered to be any patient treatment area where work involving occupational exposure to blood or OPIM or contamination may occur.
Dental personnel must change their PPE when it becomes visibly soiled and as soon as feasible if penetrated by blood or OPIM. Employers are responsible for laundering or cleaning any reusable PPE contaminated with blood, saliva, or OPIM.
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.