Safety

COVID-19 and the Hierarchy of Controls

Healthcare Life Safety Compliance, September 17, 2020

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OSHA policies for preventing exposure to coronavirus and other hazardous materials

by Brian Ward

With a spike in both COVID-19 and influenza cases expected this fall, many are reexamining and shoring up their infection control processes. Healthcare providers have already made several changes this year to limit the spread of coronavirus, from plexiglass partitions to increased handwashing.

As you go over your safety measures, there is a methodology you can use to determine which steps will be the most effective: the NIOSH Hierarchy of Controls (HoC).

This system has been used to keep workers in all fields safe for more than 50 years, says Dan Scungio, MT(ASCP), SLS, laboratory safety officer for the multihospital system Sentara Healthcare in Virginia, and otherwise known as “Dan, the Lab Safety Man.”

“It is an orderly set of protections that can be used when making decisions about practices during the pandemic,” he says. “The hierarchy starts at the top with the most protection from hazards, and it moves down to the least protective option.”

This is an excerpt from a member only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe to Healthcare Life Safety Compliance.

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