|How can I prevent the spread of MRSA in my workplace?
As part of a comprehensive
Safety and Health Management System, you
can take steps to decrease or minimize the spread of MRSA at the
workplace. Preventing the spread of MRSA in the workplace depends
upon your type of workplace.
Infection control is key to stopping MRSA
spread in healthcare settings. Employees in other work settings should be
encouraged to do the following to prevent MRSA spread in their work environment. Employees should be encouraged to
personal and hand hygiene, such as:
Wash soiled sheets, towels and clothes in hot water with bleach and
dry in a hot dryer.
hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water or by using an
alcohol-based sanitizer when soap and water is not immediately
- Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until healed
- Avoid contact with other people's wounds or bandages
- Avoid sharing personal items, such as towels, washcloths, razors,
If a wound appears to be infected, an employee should see a
healthcare provider. Treatment may include draining the infection
and the administration of antibiotics.
|Should an employee with a MRSA infection work?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),
unless directed by a healthcare provider, workers with MRSA
infections should not be routinely excluded from going to work.
Additionally, an employer may want to seek guidance from an
occupational health care provider about how to reduce additional
risks to both MRSA-infected and uninfected employees. This may be
important in industries (for example: agri-business, construction,
forestry/landcare, healthcare, food service) where an employee is at
higher risk of sustaining a skin injury such as an abrasion, burn,
cut, or puncture wound.
Exclusion from work should be reserved for those with wound
drainage ("pus") that cannot be covered and contained with a clean,
dry bandage and for those who cannot maintain
Employees with active infections should be excluded from
activities where skin-to-skin contact with the affected skin area is
likely to occur until their infections are healed.
|Will compliance with OSHA Standards improve protection of employees who
may be exposed to MRSA in the workplace?
Compliance with OSHA Standards will assist with improving
of employees who may be exposed to MRSA in the workplace. OSHA's
Safety and Health Topics pages provide additional guidance to comply
with standards. Below are some of the relevant provisions of OSHA standards
of special importance.
Employees who have occupational exposure to blood or other
potentially infectious materials are covered under this standard.
This includes those required to provide first aid services to other
Universal precautions to help protect against infection shall be
followed by those who must comply with this standard.
Disinfectants and other cleaning products used to decontaminate
surfaces may be considered hazardous chemicals under this standard.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Depending on the specific workplace situation, some
protective equipment (PPE) may be needed as a barrier against the
transmission of MRSA from an infected person to a
non-infected employee. This may include, but is not limited to, the use
of gloves, eye protection and facemasks (e.g., surgical masks).
Some products used for decontamination may necessitate the need
Consult the appropriate OSHA PPE
An employer is required to report and keep records of fatalities,
injuries, and illnesses which are determined to be work-related.
An injury or illness is considered to be work-related if an event
or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to
the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing
injury or illness.
This standard requires an employer to provide:
and cold running water or tepid running water in each lavatory
Hand soap or similar cleansing agents
Individual hand towels or sections thereof, of cloth or paper, warm air
blowers or clean individual sections of continuous cloth toweling,
convenient to the lavatories
Individual clean towels to employees who use showers
This standard further requires toilet and handwashing facilities to be accessibly located and in close
proximity to each other; and prohibits common drinking cups or
View the complete CDC/NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety
and Health) Workplace Safety and Health Topic page: MRSA
and the Workplace.