Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2006-0357-3041, Denver Sheriff's Department, Denver, Colorado.
In September 2006, employees at the Denver Sheriff's Department, Denver, Colorado, requested that the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) evaluate potential employee exposures to infectious agents from inmates housed at the facility. The specific diseases listed in the employee request included tuberculosis (TB), methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and Serratia marcescens (serratia). During the NIOSH visit in September 2006, employee and management representatives provided information about the Denver Sheriff's Department infection control procedures and ventilation system and participated with NIOSH representatives in a walk-through tour of the facility. Confidential employee requesters and Department medical providers were interviewed by phone at another time. There were no reports of infections with TB, MRSA, or serratia among any of the Denver Sheriff's Department employees. Employee exposures to potentially ill inmates were limited by procedures followed at the Denver Sheriff's Department. These included: medical screening of incoming inmates, transfer of sick inmates to an offsite medical location, preventing inmate presence on the first-floor administrative area by moving inmates directly from the basement entry area to the housing areas on the second-fourth floors, regular cleaning of inmate housing areas, and exhausting of 100% of the air in the inmate housing areas to the outdoors. Although our evaluation did not document occupationally-acquired infections with TB, MRSA, or serratia in employees of the Denver Sheriff's Department, correctional facilities are considered to be workplaces where the risk of certain infectious disease exposures is greater than in the general population. These include TB, the human immunodeficiency virus, and hepatitis B and C. Recommendations to decrease the likelihood of these exposures to employees at the Denver Sheriff's Department are provided in this report. Although no occupationally-acquired TB, MRSA, or serratia infections were identified in Denver Sheriff's Department employees, our evaluation found areas where improvements are warranted. Correctional facilities are considered to be work environments with an elevated risk for occupational exposure to TB, hepatitis B and C, and the human immunodeficiency virus, and consensus infection control standards and guidelines have been established to prevent disease transmission in these facilities. We recommend that additional infection control procedures, including hepatitis B vaccination and TB screening in employees, be implemented per established standards and guidelines and that current inmate transport policies and 100 percent exhaust ventilation in the inmate holding areas be continued to help limit the risk of infectious-disease exposure to employees.
Region-8; Hazard-Unconfirmed; Infectious-diseases; Infection-control; Immune-system-disorders; Respiratory-system-disorders; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Viral-diseases; Viral-infections; HIV; AIDS-virus; Bacterial-disease; Bacterial-infections; Correctional-facilities; Bloodborne-pathogens; Indoor-air-pollution; Ventilation-systems; Indoor-environmental-quality