The rate of needlesticks among health-care workers has decreased dramatically and the number of hospital workers who develop work-related hepatitis B has decreased: Cases dropped from about 12,000 annually to a mere handful each year.
The continued value of the OSHA bloodborne-pathogen standard was demonstrated again in 2014, when several U.S. health-care workers were infected with the Ebola virus.
Creating a standard that would protect workers exposed to airborne infectious diseases has long been an OSHA priority.
An OSHA standard would provide much-needed guidance, and the prospect of inspections and civil penalties would no doubt motivate some employers to do the right thing.
Health-care workers aren’t the only people who need protection, of course, and employers must also begin planning to continue operating under pandemic conditions.

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