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Ask the expert: TB skin tests and low risk facilities

Q: We are located in a low risk area for TB occurrence and are not a “sick patient” facility. What does OSHA require for testing staff and volunteers for TB? Do they need to be tested yearly or just once?

A: OSHA does not regulate the health and safety of volunteers, but the CDC guidelines for preventing TB in healthcare settings [1] says to screen volunteers the same as you would for healthcare workers in settings with possible TB exposure.

The guidelines also recommend a two-step  tuberculin skin test (TST) for new staff. The screening frequency is dependent on your risk factor, and a low-risk facility does not need to screen annually, according to the guidelines.

Download the TB Risk Assessment for Ambulatory Settings under the Infection Control heading on the Tools page [2] to assist in determining your facility’s risk level.