Gowns, gloves, masks, and respirators – all the PPE items you need to convey the safety of your practice.
- Where do you start? The CDC addresses their recommendations for PPE in their COVID-19 guidance for healthcare workers.
- But what happens when supplies are limited like they are now? The CDC has detailed a number of Strategies to Optimize the Supply of PPE and Equipment on their website addressing what to do when supplies are stressed, running low, or absent.
- PPE will be a necessity for all team members including administrative workers. To understand what level of PPE will be needed to suit any risk level, OSHA has detailed Guidance for All Workers and Employees.
- A PPE Burn Rate Calculator has been created by NIOSH to help you track your inventory and know how long your supply will last.
- NIOSH has answered a number of potential questions in “Filtering out Confusion: Frequently Asked Questions about Respiratory Protection.”
- One of the first recommendations to convey safety is to get your team scheduled for their N95 fit tests. OSHA has a detailed video on Respirator Fit Testing requirements.
- Employers must ensure fit testing and record-keeping requirements of OSHA’s respiratory protection standard are met before staff can use an N95 mask for protection against hazardous exposures at work. (Please note, if your state is not governed by OSHA regulations, check your specific state regulations to ensure compliance.) There is no OSHA guidance available for testing KN95 masks. Organizations that can complete qualitative fit tests in your area may be found through your local hospitals, fire departments, or occupational health testing facilities (such as Concentra or MobileHealth).
- As you know, to work properly, respirators must have a tight seal. OSHA’s video on “How to Perform a User Seal Check with an N95 Respirator” details how to don and doff a respirator, how to perform a seal check, and the importance of following the manufacturer guidelines.
- In order to comply with OSHA’s respiratory protection standard, the use of an N95 mask must be accompanied by a Hazard Assessment and a Respiratory Protection Plan. Use this template for your RPP, provided by Compliance Training Partners.
Keep an eye out for Counterfeit Respirators and Misrepresentation of NIOSH-Approval, as detailed by the CDC. We’re seeing a number of products are being falsely marketed and sold. Learn more on the CDC’s Healthcare Respiratory Protection Resources.
Some dental offices have raised their fees to offset these extra costs, while others have chosen to absorb them. We are aware several states have ruled a “PPE fee” cannot be charged to patients. Check your state regulations before doing so.