OSHA Announces Guidelines for Cleaning and Decontamination of Ebola
OSHA recently issued Guidelines for Cleaning and Decontamination of Ebola on Surfaces for workers and employers in non-healthcare/non-laboratory settings. According to the guidelines, workers that are tasked with cleaning surfaces that may be contaminated with Ebola virus must be protected from exposure. Further, employers are responsible for ensuring workers are protected from exposure to Ebola and are not exposed to harmful levels of chemicals used for cleaning and disinfection.
Among other things, the OSHA guidelines set forth the following:
• Immediately clean and disinfect any visible surface contamination from blood, urine, feces, vomit, or other body fluids that may contain Ebola virus.
• Isolate areas of suspected Ebola virus contamination until decontamination is completed to minimize exposure to individuals not performing the work.
• Cover spills with absorbent material (e.g., paper towels), then pour disinfectant on to saturate the area, and allow bleach to soak into spills for at least 30 minutes before cleaning to allow it to kill any virus or other infectious agents that may be present.
• Treat any visible contamination or bulk spill matter with a suitable disinfectant before cleaning up and removing bulk material.
• After disinfecting and removing bulk material, clean and decontaminate the surface using the disinfectant.
• Ensure adequate ventilation in areas where workers are using disinfectants, including by opening windows and doors, or using mechanical ventilation equipment.
• Use tools, such as tongs from a spill kit, as much as possible rather than doing cleanup work directly with gloved hands.
• After cleaning and disinfection work is complete, remove PPE as follows: gloves, face shield/goggles, gown, and then mask/respirator. Wash hands with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand gel if no running water is available.
Like the CDC, OSHA recommends that workers tasked with cleaning a surface that may be contaminated with Ebola use an EPA registered disinfectant that is effective against non-enveloped viruses (e.g., adenovirus, norovirus, or poliovirus).
For guidelines for waste disposal and appropriate protective equipment, view the full guidelines here.
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