IAFC updates OSHA infection-control guidelines packet

The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), in conjunction with Infection Control/Emerging Concepts, Inc., has updated its information packet Communicable Disease Exposure Control Plan Guidelines for Fire Departments. The packet includes a checklist, OSHA regulations for bloodborne pathogens, the current Center for Disease Control tuberculosis guidelines being enforced by OSHA, references, and articles.

The IAFC, noting that fire departments must implement a “department-specific” plan to comply with the OSHA regulations for protecting emergency responders from communicable diseases, said it became apparent that some departments are confused regarding the “scope and completeness” of the plan as required by regulation. The IAFC points out that $116 million in fines were imposed by OSHA in fiscal year 1992 for violations of job safety and health standards.

Volunteer organizations also should comply with the OSHA regulations because of NFPA 1581 and the Centers for Disease Con-trol guidelines, recommends the IAFC, ex-plaining that as far as TB regulations are concerned, the working definition of a health care worker is “all persons paid or unpaid working in the health care field.”

The communicable disease packet may be ordered, prepaid only, from the IAFC, Attn: Finance, 4025 Fair Ridge Drive, Fairfax, VA 22033; (703) 273-9815, ext. 2; fax: (703) 273-9363. The cost is $25 for IAFC members and $30 for nonmembers. Check, money order, MasterCard, and VISA are accepted.

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