Dentistry Workers and Employers
his section provides guidance for dentistry workers and employers. This guidance supplements the general interim guidance for workers and employers of workers at increased risk of occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2.
On March 16, 2020, the American Dental Association called for dentists to keep their offices closed to all but urgent and emergency procedures during the COVID-19 outbreak. Unless emergency dental procedures absolutely cannot be delayed, OSHA further recommends that emergency dental procedures be performed on patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 only if appropriate precautions, including personal protective equipment (PPE), are available and used.
Employers should remain alert of changing outbreak conditions, including as they relate to community spread of the virus and testing availability, and implement infection prevention measures accordingly. As states or regions satisfy the gating criteria to progress through the phases of the guidelines for Opening up America Again, employers will likely be able to adapt this guidance to better suit evolving risk levels and necessary control measures in their workplaces.
Employers should assess the hazards to which their workers may be exposed; evaluate the risk of exposure; and select, implement, and ensure workers use controls to prevent exposure. The table below describes dentistry work tasks associated with the exposure risk levels in OSHA’s occupational exposure risk pyramid, which may serve as a guide to employers in this sector.