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OSHA cites dental practice for failing to provide N95 fit testing for employees

CDA seeks member input on challenges faced in fit testing

October 01, 2020 3382

Quick Summary:

Cal/OSHA requires employers to provide staff training, a medical evaluation and fit testing to every employee who is required to wear a respirator, such as an N95. CDA members who have faced challenges with fit testing can describe their experience in a brief CDA questionnaire.

A dental practice in Georgetown, Massachusetts, was cited for six serious respiratory protection violations, including for “failing to provide medical evaluations and fit testing for employees required to wear N-95 respirators as protection against the coronavirus,” according to a September news release from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. 

OSHA also cited the practice for lack of written programs related to respiratory protection, bloodborne pathogen exposure control and chemical hazard communication, insufficient bloodborne pathogen training and controls and inadequate eyewash stations.

The proposed penalties, which the practice paid in full, totaled $9,500.

Medical evaluation, fit testing required for tight-fitting respirator use

Cal/OSHA expects dentists to provide staff with respiratory protection from aerosols generated by ultrasonics, rotary, air abrasion, air-water syringe and other aerosol-generating dental devices when treating patients whose COVID-19 status is unknown.

Cal/OSHA requires employers to provide staff training, a medical evaluation and fit testing to every employee who is required to wear a respirator, such as an N95, for their protection and must also develop a written respirator protection program. (CDA members can customize CDA’s respirator protection program.)

Complete a brief CDA questionnaire 

CDA recognizes that some dental practices have experienced challenges in completing the necessary training, medical evaluation or fit testing and would like to know more about those challenges. CDA Practice Support Regulatory Compliance Analyst Teresa Pichay designed a brief questionnaire and encourages members to complete it.

COVID-19 addendum to injury and illness prevention plan 

OSHA associates certain work tasks with exposure risk levels and describes “well patients” as members of the general public who are not known or suspected COVID-19 patients.

CDA Practice Support’s customizable addendum to the injury and illness prevention plan describes those risk levels and the engineering and administrative controls that practices should have in place to reduce the risk of exposure to the new coronavirus, including patient screening and use of proper PPE.

Learn more about different types of respirators and required compliance documentation in the CDA resource.