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Updated Practice Guidelines Help Ensure Office Safety

The American Dental Association (ADA) has added new information to its Update to Office Procedures During COVID-19 to help oral health professionals make informed decisions regarding safe practice during the ongoing pandemic.

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medical professional wearing a mask
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The American Dental Association (ADA) has added new information to its Update to Office Procedures During COVID-19 to help oral health professionals make informed decisions regarding safe practice during the ongoing pandemic. Emphasizing screening protocols and the use of professional judgment in decision-making, the new guidance is designed to help dentists identify best practices for their offices as they assess COVID-19 workplace hazards in the context of local guidance and community-based factors.

The ADA update notes that hazard assessments are required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The COVID-19 Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard that OSHA released in June is designed to protect healthcare workers from occupational exposure to SARS-CoV- 2. It requires dental offices to implement measures to reduce transmission of the virus in the workplace. Details concerning physical distancing, aerosol-generating procedures, and the use of physical barriers and personal protective equipment are all included in the 67-page document.

Under the OSHA standard, healthcare employers must keep a COVID-19 log, establish a COVID-19 safety plan for exposure control, and implement policies and procedures to prevent the spread of the virus in clinical settings. A COVID-19 plan template, worksite checklist, and job hazard analysis sample log can be found at osha.gov/coronavirus/ets.

From Decisions in Dentistry. August 2021;7(8)6.

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