Cal/OSHA Warns Employers about Hepatitis A

Oct. 10, 2017
Workers in certain fields have a higher risk of contracting the virus.

Hepatitis A outbreaks have been reported in San Diego, Santa Cruz and Los Angeles counties in California.

Because of the spread of the highly-contagious liver virus, state-run Cal/OSHA is reminding employers about preventive measures they need to protect their workers.

"Employers must take steps to prevent or reduce the spread of the hepatitis A virus," said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum in a statement. "Preventive measures are essential to protecting workers at risk of exposure."

Symptoms of Hepatitis A range from mild to severe depending on the person, and it can be fatal, according to the agency.

Workers in certain industries to come into contact with the homeless population or those that use illicit drugs are at greater risk for exposure. Employees include those in the health care and laboratory field, those involved with public safety and emergency medical services, sanitation and janitorial workers and people working in homeless services and substance use treatment facilities.

A person can be exposed to the hepatitis A virus after coming into contact with objects, food or drinks contaminated by an infected person, according to Cal/OSHA.

The agency's recommended practices to prevent worker exposure to the virus include:

  • Maintaining a clean and sanitary workplace
  • Sanitizing and cleaning toilet facilities
  • Providing handwashing facilities
  • Providing appropriate personal protective equipment
  • Providing training
  • Offering hepatitis A vaccinations

Additional information and preventative measures can be found on the Cal/OSHA website.

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