Some U.S. Workers Risk Exposure to Coronavirus
Without sustained human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus in the United States, most American workers are not at significant risk of infection.
But some workers—including those involved in healthcare and clinical studies, airline operations, including cabin crew members, and border protection—could risk exposure to travelers infected with the virus in China or other affected areas.
Business travelers from the United States who visit areas abroad where the virus is spreading may also be at some risk of exposure, according to CONN-OSHA.
The first human infections from the virus, formally known as the 2019-nCoV infection, were in China, including in and around Wuhan City.
Authorities have identified additional cases in a growing number of other international locations, including the United States.
Based on similar viruses, the coronavirus could spread through respiratory secretions of infected people, especially when they cough or sneeze.
Previous outbreaks of coronavirus have spread from ill people to others through close contact, such as caring for or living with an infected person.
Currently, there’s no vaccine.
Until more is known about how the virus spreads, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and OSHA recommend using a combination of precautions, including:
These precautions include wearing gowns, gloves, NIOSH-certified disposable N95 or better respirators, and eye/face protection to protect workers exposed to the virus.
For more information, consult CDC or the World Health Organization for interim guidance on infection prevention and control recommendations.
CDC includes guidelines for clinical laboratory workers handling specimens associated with the 2019-nCoV infection.
Airline workers should visit OSHA’s webpage for airline worker infection prevention and control recommendations.
For more information, contact CBIA’s Phillip Montgomery (860.244.1982).
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