ACP News   May 5, 2020

New OSHA Guidelines and 3D Printing of PPE


As individual states begin to allow for the opening of dental facilities, gathering adequate PPE will be essential. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have just put out new guidelines regarding worker safety and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

OSHA recently updated their site for Dentistry Workers and Employers to provide interim guidance for occupational exposure to COVID-19. 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has also put forth recommendations for using PPE, including strategies for optimizing the PPE that you may already have.

PPE that is worn during a procedure that generates aerosols, when removed, “is considered regulated waste and should be contained and removed as appropriate,” said Dr. Gerald Grant, Director of Maxillofacial Prosthetics on the ACP Board of Directors. “The general confusion seems to be over the use of surgical masks, N95 masks and respirators – There seems to be lots of guidance in different places, but most agree that if you are generating aerosols, that you use a N95 mask and a shield." 

Many dental providers donated their PPE to medical facilities treating coronavirus patients. Unfortunately, there is still a gap in the commercial availability of PPE now that practices are looking to reopen. To begin to address this issue, many groups have been 3D printing equipment where possible.

If you have access to a 3D printer, the National Institute of Health (NIH) 3D Print Exchange has made several plans available including mask designs.

Dr. Grant serves as interim assistant dean of Advanced Technologies and Innovation and associate director of the Additive Manufacturing Institute of Science & Technology at University of Louisville School of Dentistry.


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