“This new infection control guidance and very low COVID-19 infection rate for dentists and dental hygienists prove that dental practices are safe workplaces,” states ADA President Daniel J. Klemmedson, D.D.S., M.D.
The new OSHA workplace ETS provides guidance to be implemented in health care 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.
Dental offices should have a written COVID-19 plan in place. If an office is covered under this ETS it is mandated to do so. If an office is exempt, it still should do a hazard assessment and written plan as recommended in OSHA’s Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs. 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.
Editor’s Note: Reporters are invited to follow the ADA on Twitter @AmerDentalAssn