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Oral Health Topics

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Key Points

  • Employers have responsibilities for the occupational safety of their employees.
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the U.S. governmental agency that has the mission to assure the safety and health of America's workers.
  • OSHA sets and enforces standards that address potential workplace hazards; provides training, outreach, and education; establishes partnerships; and encourages continual improvement in workplace safety and health.  
  • For dentistry, infectious disease and hazardous chemicals are examples of potential workplace hazards of concern; the following sections will address certain OSHA standards specific to dental offices.
  • When there is no standard, OSHA’s “General Duty Clause” may be used to provide regulatory guidance and enforcement for occupational exposures.
  • Introduction
  • Bloodborne Pathogens Standard
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Hazard Assessment and PPE
  • Exposure Control Plan
  • Staff Immunization Requirements
  • Needle Safety
  • Sharps Containers
  • Percutaneous Exposures/Sharps Injuries
  • Laundry
  • Environmental Surfaces/Carpet in Dental Offices
  • Nitrous Oxide Analgesia
  • Emergency/First Aid Kits
  • Radiography and Workplace Safety
  • Hazard Communication
  • Eye Protection and Eyewash Stations
  • Sterilization of Equipment
  • Waste Management
  • General Duty Clause
  • ADA Policy on Occupational Safety and Health
  • References
  • ADA Resources
  • Other Resources
Last Updated: May 11, 2020

Prepared by:

Department of Scientific Information, Evidence Synthesis & Translation Research, ADA Science & Research Institute, LLC.


Content on the Oral Health Topics section of is for informational purposes only.  Content is neither intended to nor does it establish a standard of care or the official policy or position of the ADA; and is not a substitute for professional judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  ADA is not responsible for information on external websites linked to this website.