With early reports of swine-flu-related deaths in Mexico and 20 confirmed U.S. cases in five states as of Sunday, the CDC has issued a number of interim guidances for healthcare providers , including one on respirator use.
“Respirators should be considered for use by individuals for whom close contact with an infectious person is unavoidable,” according to Interim Recommendations for Facemask and Respirator Use in Certain Community Settings Where Swine Influenza A (H1N1) Virus Transmission Has Been Detected . In this instance, respirator refers to an N95 or higher filtering facepiece respirator certified by NIOSH.
The OSHA respiratory protection standard requires fit testing  and training when employees are required to wear a respirator.
Respirator Safety for Healthcare Workers video  instructs on the training needed for compliance and includes as a resource “Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response Guidance for Healthcare Workers and Healthcare Employers.” You may download this document from the OSHA Healthcare Advisor tools page .
Did you find this advice helpful? Learn how you can get all your OSHA questions answered by registering for OSHA Healthcare Advisor’s “Q&A Roundtable: Solutions to Your Compliance Challenges” audioconference,  Tuesday, May 19, 2009, 1:00-2:00 p.m. (Eastern).