OSHA Releases Guidance for Nursing Home and Long-Term Care Facility Workers
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on nursing homes around the country. Not only are many elders falling ill, but many nursing home and care workers are trying to mitigate the responsibilities of their job and others’ safety.
OSHA released workplace and hygiene tips for those working in nursing homes and long-term care facilities:
- Encourage workers to stay home if they are sick.
- Screen workers and residents regularly for signs and symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Send sick workers home or to seek medical care.
- Closely monitor and take additional precautions regarding employees and residents who may have been exposed to an individual with COVID-19.
- Follow CDC guidance on updating existing resident visitation policies.
- Ask visitors to inform the facility if they develop a fever or symptoms consistent with COVID-19 within 14 days of their visit.
- Maintain at least six feet between workers, residents, and visitors, to the extent possible, including while workers perform their duties and during breaks.
- Stagger break periods to avoid crowding in breakrooms.
- Consider alternatives to in-person large group gatherings (e.g., staff meetings, resident activities).
- Always follow good infection prevention and control practices. Consult OSHA’s COVID-19 guidance for healthcare workers and employers.
- Provide handwashing facilities and alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol throughout facilities.
- Regularly clean and disinfect shared equipment and frequently touched surfaces in resident rooms, staff work stations, and common areas.
- Use hospital-grade cleaning chemicals approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from List N or EPA-approved, hospital grade cleaning chemicals that have label claims against the coronavirus.
- Ensure workers have and use any personal protective equipment (PPE) they need to perform their jobs safely.
- Continually monitor PPE stocks, burn rate, and supply chains. Develop a process for decontamination and reuse of PPE, such as face shields and goggles, as appropriate. Follow CDC recommendations for optimization of PPE supplies.
- Train workers about how to protect themselves and residents during the pandemic.
- Encourage workers to report any safety and health concerns.
For more information, visit www.osha.gov/coronavirus or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742)