The American Dental Association (ADA) is pleased dental practices are largely exempt from the new emergency temporary standard (ETS) for COVID-19 issued for healthcare settings by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The new OSHA workplace ETS provides guidance to be implemented in healthcare settings where all employees may not be screened for COVID-19, and non-employees and patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are allowed to enter and may be treated. Dental offices most likely to be affected by this standard would include hospital-based oral surgery practices or those who provide care for COVID-19 patients.
According to the OSHA’s guidelines, every dental office must have a COVID-19 plan, regardless of practice setting. Dental practices must also conduct a workplace-specific hazard assessment for COVID-19. Based on OSHA’s Hazard Identification and Assessment, the ADA has already created a guide and checklist to walk dentists through this process at ADA.org/virus
According to OSHA’s recommendations, dentists should continue pre-appointment patient screenings to identify individuals with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, rescheduling their appointments if possible or referring them, as necessary.
As the pandemic restrictions across the country are reviewed at the federal, state, and local government levels, the safety of patients, dentists, and dental team members will remain ADA’s utmost concern. The ADA notes that per the OSHA guidelines, employers are encouraged to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state, and local regulatory guidelines.