The National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) reports that the federal Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued Instructions for general enforcement policies and procedures to be followed when conducting inspections and issuing citations related to occupational exposure to tuberculosis (TB).
The Instruction reflects guidance from the updated U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report: “Guidelines for Preventing the Transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Health-Care Settings, 2005.” That report is at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/rr/rr5417.pdf.
OSHA defines a health care “setting” as any relationship (physical or organizational) in which health care workers might share air space with persons with TB disease or in which workers might be in contact with clinical specimens.
The instructions provide guidelines as to when the OSHA inspector are to conduct inspections of health care settings related to occupational exposure to TB.
According to NAHC, home health care, which would include home hospice, is recognized as a type of health care setting subject to OSHA inspection for occupational TB exposures.
However, the document separates this setting from inpatient and outpatient settings and limits inspections to an evaluation of the employer’s TB Control program and employee interviews.