The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, aka OSHA, focuses on creating safe conditions for employees in the workplace. Within a veterinary facility, office, or hospital, OSHA standards should be maintained to prevent and control potential hazards, such as zoonotic diseases that are transmissible from animals to humans. Varying zoonotic diseases are caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites – but can be avertible.
Caring properly for the health of animals in an individual’s care is the first vital step to prevent zoonoses. Taking vital precautionary measures as directed by OSHA in a veterinary setting is the next. Read on to learn further information about OSHA veterinary precautions for zoonotic disease prevention.
Health Precautions for Veterinary Employees
Suitable and required precautionary safety actions are of the utmost importance in a work environment. For veterinary staff, standards designated by OSHA for compliance include appropriate protective equipment, hand hygiene, sharps disposal methods, and workspace disinfection.
Choosing appropriate protective equipment—such as respiratory protection like a mask, eye goggles, safety gloves, footgear, and clothing—will aid in preventing the spread of zoonotic diseases. Workspaces in the office or hospital must be disinfected with designated cleaning solutions for prevention purposes. Hand hygiene is another crucial component, with a designated employee hand-washing area and materials to soap up and dry off with a paper towel. Approved sharps containers for disposal of used sharps should also be provided for safety after needle use on animals for vaccinations, medicine, antibiotics, etc.
Training Precautions for Veterinary Employees
One of the top OSHA veterinary precautions for zoonotic disease prevention is proper training practices. Employers at veterinary practices and facilities must clearly communicate expectations and necessary rules to their staff in a language that they can understand. This begins by providing the required employee training on OSHA standards—and performing this training adequately for their continual education.
During this time, addressing each employees’ personal vaccinations and host susceptibility is crucial. Veterinary staff should inspect their neck, face, hands, and outer extremities for any cuts or scrapes before beginning work daily. Any wounds or open areas should be thoroughly cleaned, treated, and covered prior to working with animals to prevent possible spread.
OSHA Rights for Veterinary Employees
Veterinarians should be consistently aware of the risk that runs in pets, farm animals, and wildlife for zoonotic diseases, and the continual risk of diseases spreading between animals and their owners. As part of their job, veterinarians are most advised of disease prevention practices to stay safe and healthy around animals and can advise clients and owners of their animal patients.
All the while, veterinary staff still have their own matters to attend to and keep in mind: having the authoritative right to exercise health and safety rights, further their training, access past and current hazard exposure and medical records, or file a complaint with OSHA. If your veterinary facility requires further education such as OSHA training for veterinary hospitals, Gamma Compliance Solutions has the right materials and resources for any pressing needs, even an allocated OSHA manual for your industry.