NIOSH Web Resource on MRSA & the Workplace Recommends Ways to Prevent Risks of Infections


NIOSH Update:

Contact: Christina Bowles (202) 245-0633
October 30, 2007

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) offers a new web resource to help employers and workers address workplace concerns associated with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

The new topic page at discusses the ways in which the MRSA bacteria can be spread at work, and recommends practical health steps to prevent transmissions from occurring. These steps include, among others:

  • Providing and using adequate facilities and supplies at work to promote hand-washing and other good hygiene practices.
  • Appropriate cleaning of equipment and surfaces in the event of contamination.
  • Recommended precautions for individuals to follow if they have a MRSA infection or an infected wound: Cover and take care of a wound as directed by a health care provider. Clean your hands. Avoid sharing personal items. Ask your health care provider before returning to work. (MRSA is transmitted most frequently by skin-to-skin contact or contact with shared items or surfaces that have come into contact with someone else’s infection.)

Staphylococcus aureus, usually known as staph, is a bacteria that is commonly carried on the skin or in the nose of healthy people. Staph sometimes can cause skin infections, which may be minor and can be treated without antibiotics, but in other cases infections may be more serious, such as surgical wound infections, bloodstream infections, and pneumonia. MRSA bacteria are a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to the antibiotic methicillin and may be resistant to other antibiotics as well.

“Although guidance is readily available for preventing the spread of MRSA in health-care settings, where the risks for infection and the consequences of infection are of particular concern, resources for general workplaces are harder to find,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “The NIOSH web page is intended to provide practical information on good, basic health practices, which can be tailored for individual workplaces as appropriate.”

The new web page is organized as an easy-to-read set of frequently-asked-questions (FAQs) and answers. The questions and answers address the aspects of MRSA and the workplace that employers and workers are most likely to be interested in. The page also provides general information about MRSA and links to additional resources.

NIOSH is the federal agency that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries and illnesses. More information about NIOSH, call toll-free 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) or visit the NIOSH web page at

Page last reviewed: August 6, 2012