This policy and its associated guidelines are intended to protect City of Toronto employees from potential adverse health effects as a result of exposure to infectious diseases/agents by:
The policy assigns responsibility with respect to:
The associated guidelines provide additional information to assist divisions in:
This policy and its associated guidelines apply to all City divisions (and employees) where employees may be exposed to infectious diseases or agents in the course of their work activities. It is understood that this is a minimum standard. Given the nature of contact with infectious agents, the risk of exposure to infectious diseases/agents and strategies for control will vary in different settings. Certain City divisions will have additional legislation that must also be followed (e.g. health care facilities, emergency responders). It is expected that divisional procedures and programs will be reflective of this policy and any additional requirements.
Additional Precautions (i.e., Contact Precautions, Droplet Precautions, and Airborne Precautions) are necessary in addition to Routine Practices for certain pathogens or clinical presentations. These precautions are based on the method of transmission (e.g., contact, droplet, airborne).
Dispersion of solid and liquid particles suspended in a gas (e.g. in air)
A liquid, gel or foam formulation of alcohol (e.g., ethanol, isopropanol) which is used to reduce the number of microorganisms on hands in situations when the hands are not visibly soiled. ABHRs contain emollients to reduce skin irritation and are less time-consuming to use than washing with soap and water.
The physical removal of foreign material (e.g., dust, soil) and organic material (e.g., blood, secretions, excretions, microorganisms). Cleaning physically removes rather than kills microorganisms. It is accomplished with water, detergents and mechanical action.
The presence of an infectious agent on hands or on a surface, such as clothing, gowns, gloves, bedding, toys, surgical instruments, patient care equipment, dressings or other inanimate objects.
A product that is used on equipment/devices which results in disinfection of the equipment/device.
The inactivation of disease-producing microorganisms. Disinfection does not destroy bacterial spores. Equipment/devices must be cleaned thoroughly before effective disinfection can take place.
A document that describes how workers will be protected from infectious diseases/agents in the workplace; including information on the nature of the hazards, the risks associated with exposure, as well as controls that will be used to protect workers.
A device that covers the eyes and is used to protect the eyes when it is anticipated that a procedure or activity is likely to generate splashes or sprays of blood, body fluids including, secretions or excretions, aerosols from potentially contaminated waste water, or within two metres of a coughing client/patient/resident. Eye protection includes safety glasses, safety goggles, face shields and visors.
Personal protective equipment that protect the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and mouth from splashes or sprays of blood, body fluids, secretions or excretions or infectious aerosols. Facial protection may include a mask or respirator in conjunction with eye protection, or a face shield that covers eyes, nose and mouth.
A qualitative or quantitative method to evaluate the fit of a specific make, model and size of respirator on an individual. Fit-testing is to be done prior to use of a respirator, then periodically, at least every two years and whenever there is a change in respirator face piece or the user’s physical condition which could affect the respirator fit.
A general term referring to any action of hand cleaning. Hand hygiene relates to the removal of visible soil and removal or killing of transient microorganisms from the hands. Hand hygiene may be accomplished using soap and running water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
The physical removal of microorganisms from the hands using soap (plain or antimicrobial) and running water.
The entry and multiplication of an infectious agent in the tissues of the host. Asymptomatic or sub-clinical infection is an infectious process running a course similar to that of clinical disease but below the threshold of clinical symptoms. Symptomatic or clinical infection is one resulting in clinical signs and symptoms (disease).
Evidence-based practices and procedures that, when applied consistently, can prevent or reduce the risk of transmission of microorganisms.
A microorganism, i.e., a bacterium, fungus, parasite, virus or prion, which is capable of invading body tissues and multiplying.
A disease due to a specific microbial agent or its toxic products that can be transmitted from an infected person, animal, plant or inanimate source e.g. water, food, soil etc. to a susceptible host.
A device that covers the nose and mouth, is secured in the back and is used by health care providers to protect the mucous membranes of the nose and mouth.
A personal protective device that is worn on the face and covers the nose and mouth to reduce the wearer’s risk of inhaling airborne particles. A NIOSH-certified N95 respirator filters 95% of particles as small as three micron in size and provides a tight facial seal.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health is a federal US agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury and illness.
Clothing or equipment worn by staff for personal protection against hazards.
Personal practices that help prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses that cause acute respiratory infections (e.g., covering the mouth when coughing, care when disposing of tissues).
An evaluation of the interaction between the worker, the client/patient/resident and/or the area/environment where the work is performed to assess and analyze the potential for exposure to infectious diseases/agents. For the purposes of this policy and associated guidelines, divisional and individual risk assessment is referenced.
A set of infection control strategies and standards designed to protect workers from exposure to potential sources of infectious diseases.
Objects capable of causing punctures or cuts (e.g., needles, syringes, blades, clinical glass). Sharps are defined as any material that has the potential to cut or penetrate skin. Examples are razor blades, broken glass, sharp or jagged metal (i.e. tin cans, etc.), needles, syringes, blades, lancets, clinical glass (glass possibly contaminated with blood, body fluids or chemicals). Sharps contaminated or potentially contaminated with blood or bodily fluids are considered bio-hazardous wastes.
[Note: Although not mandated by this policy, immunization against infectious diseases is strongly recommended. Employees should be aware of their immunization status.]
Infectious Disease/Agent Risk Assessment Tool
Occupational Health and Safety Act (R.S.O. 1990, c. 0.1)
Infectious Disease/Agent Program Guidelines
Occupational Health and Safety Coordinating Committee (December 11, 2001)
Executive Management Team (February 18, 2002)
Reviewed and Amended: Occupational Health and Safety Coordinating Committee, December 6, 2011)
Reapproved: City Manager, (February 9, 2012)
December 1, 2001
February 9, 2012
April 26, 2016