OSHA updates inspection procedures to reduce healthcare workers' exposure to tuberculosis

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced updated inspection procedures to better protect workers against exposures to tuberculosis in healthcare settings. Almost 1.5 million people worldwide die every year from TB infections, making it the second leading cause of death from infectious diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In the United States, 383 of the 9, 582 TB cases in 2013 involved healthcare workers. OSHA's planned changes include the introduction of a newer screening method for analyzing blood for M. tuberculosis; classification of healthcare settings as low risk, medium risk or potential ongoing transmission, and reduction in the frequency of TB screening for workers, according to an announcement. A CDC report, "Guidelines for Preventing the Transmission of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis in Health-Care Settings, 2005," guided the revised instructions for conducting inspections and issuing citations related to TB exposures. Announcement

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