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Comparing written programs and self-reported respiratory protection practices in acute care hospitals.

Sietsema M; Conroy LM; Brosseau LM
J Occup Environ Hyg 2015 Mar; 12(3):189-198
Background: Airborne biological hazards in hospitals require the use of respiratory protection. A well-implemented respiratory protection program can protect healthcare workers from these exposures. Objectives: This study examines the relationship between written respiratory programs and reported practices in healthcare settings. Methods: Twenty-eight hospitals in Illinois and Minnesota were recruited to a study of respiratory protection programs and practices in acute care settings. Interviews were conducted with hospital managers, unit managers, and healthcare workers from departments where respirators are commonly required. Each hospital's written respiratory protection program was scored for the 11 elements required by OSHA, using a standardized tool, for a maximum possible score of 22 (2 pts. per element). Twenty interview questions associated with program practices were also scored by percent correct responses. Results: Written program scores ranged from 2-17 with an average of 9.2. Hospital and unit managers scored on average 82% and 81%, respectively, when compared to the OSHA standard healthcare workers scored significantly lower, 71% (p < 0.001); Minnesota written program scores were not significantly higher than Illinois hospitals (p = 0.16), while all Illinois survey respondents scored higher than those in Minnesota (p < 0.001). There was no trend between written programs and interview responses. Conclusions: Written respiratory protection programs in the study sites did not provide the level of detail required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Interview responses representing hospital practices surrounding respiratory protection indicated that hospitals were aware of and following regulatory guidelines.
Health-surveys; Health-care-facilities; Health-care-personnel; Health-protection; Respirators; Respiratory-equipment; Respiratory-protective-equipment; Personal-protective-equipment; Work-practices; Behavior; Health-programs; Management-personnel; Regulations; Questionnaires; Disease-transmission; Infection-control; Author Keywords: Respiratory Protection; Healthcare; Aerosol transmissible disease; Program Evaluation; Scoring
Margaret Sietsema, MS, University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health, 2121 West Taylor St. Chicago, IL 60612
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-T42-OH-008672; M102014
Issue of Publication
Source Name
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Performing Organization
University of Illinois at Chicago
Page last reviewed: June 15, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division