Could A Workplace Infection Control Program Mandate Be On The Horizon?

                               

The COVID-19 infectious disease has changed the scenario of workplace safety. Even with various measures to protect workers from SARS-CoV-2, the workplace exposure risk is still high considering the contagious nature of this virus. Employers now have to adopt an infection prevention and control program with proven strategies to minimize the risk levels. The newest, pandemic and infectious disease-focused infection control plan (ICP) should be based on workplace hazard assessment, engineering and administrative controls, safe work practices, and usage of personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent worker exposures in the workplace. In addition, the ICP should be compliant with OSHA standards that apply to preventing occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and educate employers and employees on elements of infection prevention and control, including hand hygiene, testing, PPE, and vaccination.

Is Infection Control a Legislated Requirement?

The Act 1974 legally requires the employer to ensure workplace safety for employees’ best health, safety, and welfare at work. The legislation relating to Infection Control Management includes injury or illness reports, diseases and dangerous occurrences, and infectious disease spread at the workplace (based on the 2020 pandemic).

What is the Main Purpose of an infection control Program?

The main purpose of a workplace infection control program is to prevent and stop the transmission of infections at work. Since the COVID-19 pandemic posed a huge risk of worker exposure to the virus, precautions are needed to prevent the disease transmission.

Infection Control Program Basics:

A workplace infection control program focuses on identifying the risks, testing workers when necessary, maintaining workplace hygiene, and educating employees on disease control and prevention. Some of the main highlights of a successful infection control program include:

Worker Screening:

  • Daily employee screening and symptoms check
  • Flagged cases being referred for secondary assessment and testing

Onsite Testing

  • Availability of onsite testing options for employees
  • Cadence testing protocols for employees who are unable to work remotely and/or identified as high risk of exposure (traveling jobs)

Vaccine Program

  • Help employees find an easy way to get vaccinated for COVID-19 and other seasonal vaccines, such as flu

Infectious Disease Control & Education

  • Developing and implementing an action-based disease control and prevention plan
  • Educating employees about workplace hygiene and CDC guidelines

By Chitra Goel

Courtesy of Axiom Medical

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