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MRSA is a recordable occupational illness

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently stated that Methycillin Resistant Staphlococcus Aureus is a recordable occupational illness. Nurses and other
health care workers who test positive for MRSA in infectioncontrol investigations should be sure that the facility records the illness on the OSHA 300 log of injuries and illnesses.

In a recent discussion with an OSHA compliance officer, it was confirmed that a positive culture of MRSA in a health care worker requiring medical treatment is, in fact, a workrelated illness and should be recorded in the facility’s OSHA log. Affirmative MRSA tests should also be reported to the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier.

Most nurses and health care workers who test positive for MRSA do not experience symptoms, yet they are treated with antibiotics because they may be a vehicle for transmission of the bacteria to susceptible patients. If left untreated though, MRSA could also pose problems for healthcare workers at some time in the future.

The requirement for identifying an occupational illness is that the condition must arise during the course of employment and require treatment beyond first aid. Each of these factors is met in the diagnosis and treatment of MRSA among healthcare workers.