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Time for Feds to turn to ATD standard

Unlike Las Vegas, what happens in California doesn’t necessarily stay to California.

The July 20 issue of Inside OSHA reports that the House Appropriations Committee would like to see OSHA develop an airborne transmissible disease (ATD) standard in fiscal 2010 similar to the one recently approved in California [1].

Among other diseases, an ATD standard would protect workers, especially those in healthcare, from novel influenza H1N1.

Looks like imitation as the sincerest form of flattery is alive and well on the federal level.

Don’t bet against it happening, given the spotlight on pandemic influenza and the proposed $41.5 million budget increase for OSHA for fiscal 2010.

The report from the committee claims that the flu outbreak last spring points out “significant deficiencies” in protecting healthcare workers, according to Inside OSHA.

In particular, some heath departments and healthcare facilities ignored OSHA and CDC recommendations for the use of certified respirators for workers exposed to H1N1 flu patients, the article explains.

The same issue of Inside OSHA reported that OSHA is busy developing an eTool for pandemic influenza. In addition to including information on controls, training, and risk communication, the tool will address how to assess risk during pandemic influenza, which OSHA says has been a source of confusion, according to the publication.