Healthcare workers (HCWs) represented approximately 11 percent of the U.S. workforce in 2010, including 13.7 million professionals, technicians, support workers, and others not directly providing patient care (i.e., maintenance and laundry), with approximately 4.6 million of those in hospitals (BLS 2011). In the May 6, 2010, Federal Register, OSHA published a Request for Information (RFI) to collect information from the healthcare industry on "occupational exposure to infectious agents in settings where healthcare is provided." This includes hospitals, outpatient clinics, clinics in schools and correctional facilities and "healthcare-related" settings, ranging from laboratories that handle potentially infectious materials to medical examiners' offices to mortuaries. OSHA is specifically interested in current infection control strategies and practices, and will use the information to "determine what action, if any, the Agency may take to further limit the spread of occupationally-acquired infectious diseases in these settings" (DOL 2010). The deadline for comments was August 4, 2010, and the responses, which are still under review, totaled 502 ( 2011).

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