New Resources Highlight Respiratory ​Hazards in Hospitals
In May, NIOSH and OSHA released the Hospital Respiratory Protection Toolkit (PDF), a new resource to help healthcare employers protect hospital workers from respiratory hazards. The publication discusses the development and implementation of effective respiratory protection programs, and emphasizes preventing the transmission of aerosol transmissible diseases to healthcare workers. ​ Other topics covered by the toolkit include respirator use, types of respiratory protection, existing public health guidance on respirator use during exposure to infectious diseases, and hazard assessment. NIOSH and OSHA have also included an editable respiratory protection program template to help hospitals fulfill OSHA’s requirement for a written respiratory protection program as one component of a comprehensive program to protect employees. The Joint Commission, an accrediting body for healthcare organizations and programs in the U.S., developed a monograph to supplement the toolkit, “Implementing Hospital Respiratory Protection Programs: Strategies from the Field.” The monograph, a collaboration with NIOSH’s National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory, is intended to assist hospitals in implementing respiratory protection programs. The publication details common implementation challenges, and provides information on quality improvement, fit-testing and training challenges, and program evaluation.