Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Take a deep breath--hold it. Don't breathe.

Jordan Barab has a great post over at Confined Space about CongressThing Roger Wicker, Republican from Mississippi (Mississippi--reminds me of a Phil Ochs song).
Wicker is the Congressman from Mississippi whose focus in life seems to be making sure that health care workers get exposed to tuberculosis (TB).


A little background, in case you don't recall. When OSHA issued its new respirator standard in 2000, they didn't cover health care workers exposed to tuberculosis because they were going to be covered in the new tuberculosis standard. When Bush's OSHA killed the tuberculosis standard at the end of 2003, the agency (correctly) decided that health care workers who may be exposed to TB would be covered under the general respirator standard (like every other worker who wears a respirator) and required to have annual respirator fit tests (like every other worker who wears a respirator.) Ask any industrial hygienist: respirators don't work real well if they don't form a tight seal around the face. OSHA has estimated that 5 percent to 50 percent of workers would lack a proper fit without annual testing.
The American Hospital Association and the Association of Professionals in Infection Control (APIC) don't want the bother of fitting their workers with adequate protection. Perhaps not coincidentally, Congress Thing Wicker introduced a rider to prevent OSHA from enforcing the standard for health care workers. As Jordan tells us, riders only go for a year, and Wicker's attempts to make the waiver permanent were unsuccessful (details in Jordan's post). Jordan expects him to come back for another rider.

Read the post. Then tell Congress Thing Wicker, the AHA and the APIC to go fuck themselves. Using condoms, of course. We wouldn't want them to get infected.