Safety

OSHA chief targets workplace asthma for national attention

OSHA Healthcare Connection, September 28, 2005

Occupational asthma will be OSHA's next national emphasis program (NEP), said OSHA Deputy Assistant Secretary Jonathan L. Snare at the National Safety Congress and Exposition in Orlando, FL, on September 21.

NEPs are part of OSHA's targeted approach to "focus on significant and prevailing hazards," he said. Occupational asthma will add to the list of current NEPs: amputations, lead, silica, ship building, and trenching.

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has identified a higher incidence of occupational asthma in healthcare than in general industry. Cleaning products, latex, and aldehydes (glutaraldehyde and formaldehyde) are common asthma triggers in healthcare settings, according to a March 2005 report by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Occupational Health Surveillance Program.

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