November 17, 2022

OSHA Publishes Monkeypox Fact Sheet for Employers, Workers

A new fact sheet published by OSHA provides information on protecting workers from exposure to monkeypox. The agency urges employers and workers whose job duties might include close, frequent skin-to-skin contact with people who have a monkeypox infection to take precautions to prevent work-related transmission of the virus. Those who may come in contact with contaminated materials should also take precautions. According to OSHA, workers whose duties may involve the types of contact that could spread monkeypox may include healthcare workers and first responders; workers in congregate settings such as hotels, correctional facilities, and recreational facilities or social venues; massage, spa, fitness, and salon workers; housekeepers, janitors, cleaning service workers, dry cleaning, and laundry workers; and animal care workers, including veterinary staff.

OSHA’s fact sheet explains that workers should be trained to look out for people who have rashes or symptoms consistent with monkeypox; avoid skin-to-skin contact with people who are ill or have visible lesions; and avoid unprotected contact with potentially contaminated materials. Employers should also train workers on the proper use of personal protective equipment and how to practice good hand hygiene.

According to OSHA, the risk for worker exposure to monkeypox in most settings is “extremely low.” CDC likewise states that there is currently a low risk of monkeypox spreading in workplaces. Recent CDC data indicate that as of Nov. 16 there have been 29,055 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the United States and 11 deaths. Worldwide, the number of confirmed cases exceeds 80,000, with the vast majority in places that have not historically reported monkeypox, and 51 deaths.

OSHA’s new fact sheet is available as a PDF.

Related: A recently published CDC toolkit provides information for both workers and employers on preventing monkeypox at work. Resources in the toolkit include site-specific guidance for workers in healthcare facilities, those who perform autopsies and handle human remains, laboratory personnel, veterinarians, and schools.