FAQs: Employee Safety

What personal protective equipment (PPE) should be provided to employees working in skilled-nursing facilities (SNFs)?

Cal/OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Disease Standard applies to SNFs and specifies what PPE is appropriate in a variety of circumstances. Cal/OSHA has developed specific guidance for SNFs and has indicated it intends to focus more attention on these workplaces. (4/22)

What are the rules around when a possibly exposed but asymptomatic health care worker can continue to work and when a symptomatic health care worker can return to work?

Health care workers who are asymptomatic but have been exposed to a known or suspected COVID-19 positive patient can continue to work during this period of emergency, subject to infection control precautions, according to the Governor’s Executive Order of March 15. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidance based on the exposure risk. With respect to health care workers who have COVID-19 symptoms, whether they have been tested or not, CDC guidance provides two methods for determining when they can return to work. (4/9)

My hospital received a notice of complaint from the Division of Occupational Safety and Health alleging that my hospital is violating the Cal/OSHA Aerosol Transmissible Disease Standard due to my respirator conservation strategies. What are my options for respirator use and conservation given the continuing shortage? 

On Aug. 6, Cal/OSHA released updated guidance on COVID-19 for Health Care Facilities: Severe Respirator Supply Shortages, which modifies the earlier June 12 guidance in three significant ways:

  • It does not include the extended re-use strategy whereby an employee is provided five or seven N95s that are rotated in use under specified conditions.
  • While it allows hospitals to continue to disinfect N95s, it requires hospitals to store them for “future shortages.”
  • It does not include the option for hospitals to provide facemasks for routine care of COVID-19 patients or persons under investigation. (Read more)  (8/13)