Best Practices for Employers Confronted with Zika Virus Concerns
August 17, 2016 | Risk Management News
Healthcare organizations should be aware of their obligations to address workplace safety concerns of healthcare workers exposed to the Zika virus, said speakers at an August 10, 2016, webinar, sponsored by Business & Legal Resources on Zika guidelines for employers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's bloodborne pathogen standard and its general-duty clause establish requirements for employers to provide a safe workplace to prevent transmission of the Zika virus, said Catherine Gray, JD, senior managing editor at Business & Legal Resources, using the following strategies: application of infection control practices, adherence to universal precautions, availability of personal protective equipment, and observance of good hand hygiene practices. Gray advised employers to document their efforts to educate workers about the virus and their initiatives to prevent transmission. For example, document any training provided and, if an employer has outside workers, provide them with insect repellant, encourage its use, and document the effort. "If OSHA visits, you want to be able to show you provided the repellant, provided the training to protect your business," Gray said.