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With widespread media attention surrounding each new Ebola scare, more and more employers are considering the implications of the Ebola threat for their organizations. According to OSHA, employers must protect workers from exposure to the Ebola virus on the job. Employers are required to comply with provisions from a combination of OSHA standards, based on their unique workplace risks. Healthcare organizations have the additional challenge of ensuring that their workers are trained to deal with Ebola patients according to the latest set of CDC guidelines. There is mounting pressure from the public and from workers themselves for reassurance that measures are in place to keep people safe.

With the Ebola virus declared a national threat by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and with Ebola scares making national headlines on a daily basis, government officials are also pushing for answers about what is being done. In letters directed to hospital executives, U.S. Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento, expressed concern that hospitals were not reaching out to community members and easing fears of an Ebola outbreak.

UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento and Sutter Health in Northern California were among the first to respond with public statements listing Ebola readiness steps they are taking.

Below are examples of what healthcare providers and others are doing to prepare:

  • Training workers on the use of personal protective equipment, bloodborne pathogens, respiratory protection, hazard communication, and other applicable OSHA standards
  • Training workers on the buddy system for safety monitoring
  • Surveying workers to identify any training they would like to receive
  • Surveying workers to identify any personal protective equipment they would like to have
  • Appointing employee safety officer/advocate
  • Supplying every location with personal protective equipment kits
  • Establishing patient transfer protocols
  • Maintaining communication with federal and state officials and continuously monitoring updates to CDC guidelines

As hospitals and other at-risk organizations step up preparedness efforts and reassure the public and their workers, we encourage you to focus on your organization's readiness, beginning with a review of your crisis management plan. A comprehensive crisis management plan is critical for effectively managing any threat to your business, including the threat of a pandemic.

Now is the time to ensure that your crisis management plan incorporates all the necessary elements, including pandemic response. If you would like our support, we have expert resources available to assist you with developing plans in compliance with OSHA regulations, CDC guidelines, and other prevailing concerns.

About U.S. Security Associates

U.S. Security Associates (USA) is one of North America's largest security companies, with 160 locally-responsive offices providing premier national security services and global consulting and investigations to customers in a range of industries. Recognized for world class customer service, leading-edge technology, and an enterprise approach to risk management, USA offers optimized security solutions to meet specific customer needs. USA is committed to building quality security and risk management programs that are Safe. Secure. Friendly.® The Securing Knowledge series is part of the extensive and growing library of reference and training tools that contribute to USA's award-winning customer service and benchmark security programs. USA's investment in training and development resources is reflected not only by BEST Awards from the American Society for Training & Development, consistent ranking on the Training magazine Top 125, and technology-driven quality management system, but also by the company's leadership team, security officers, and service excellence on a daily basis.

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