The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ensures the health and safety of American workers. This regulatory government agency sets rules and statutes for employers to follow, and each employer is responsible for their employee’s health and safety within their office or facility.
While OSHA enforces such standards that commonly address the concerns of possible workplace safety hazards, not every statute is clear-cut for an employer to comprehend. For the dental industry, one potential concern is the risk of occupational exposure to infectious diseases and hazardous chemicals. Several OSHA standards are specific to dental offices. Let’s examine these standards closer to determine OSHA’s stance on carpet in a dental operatory.
Cleaning and Disinfecting Environmental Surfaces
OSHA requires that all areas continually be kept clean, orderly, and sanitary. This means office equipment and surfaces must always be cleaned and properly disinfected—especially after contact with hazardous chemicals, blood, or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM). The bloodborne pathogens standard outlines that all spills must be cleaned up applicably to their environment. However, the standard does not address specific types of flooring surfaces.
Regardless, OSHA requires environmental surfaces to be cleaned with appropriate disinfectants. The employer is responsible for housekeeping duties and must determine an appropriate cleaning schedule that overviews proper decontamination methods. The method should be determined by location, type of spill, type of surface area, and the tasks that are regularly performed within that location.
OSHA Dental Regulations for Occupational Exposure
OSHA’s stance on carpet in a dental operatory is a guideline for employers to understand and follow. OSHA does not recommend carpeted surfaces within dental facilities, but it does not detail that an employer must replace carpeting with non-porous, hard-surface flooring either. Keep in mind that carpeted surfaces are difficult to clean and cannot be reliably decontaminated.
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