Cal/OSHA Encourages Employers and Workers to Protect Against Exposure to Hepatitis A Virus

Oakland—Cal/OSHA is encouraging employers and workers at risk of exposure to the hepatitis A virus to review preventive measures posted online. Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver disease, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe, and can be fatal in some cases. Outbreaks have been reported in San Diego, Santa Cruz, and Los Angeles counties.

Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum said, “Employers must take steps to prevent or reduce the spread of the hepatitis A virus. Preventive measures are essential to protecting workers at risk of exposure.”

In outbreak locations, workers who have direct contact with persons who are homeless or use illicit drugs have an increased risk of hepatitis A exposure in settings that include the following:

  • Health care and laboratory
  • Public safety and emergency medical services
  • Sanitation and janitorial
  • Homeless services and substance use treatment facilities

A person can be exposed to the hepatitis A virus after coming into contact with objects, food or drinks contaminated by an infected person. Employers should maintain a clean and sanitary workplace and provide proper handwashing facilities and protective equipment.

Training on new hazards is required for at-risk workers in outbreak locations to understand how hepatitis A is transmitted and how to prevent infection.