Nurses criticize CDC ‘paralysis’ on Ebola regs

A nurses union is calling on the nation’s top work safety agency to issue mandatory safeguards to protect health workers from Ebola, arguing that recommended guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are ineffective.

National Nurses United says CDC’s decision to issue recommendations instead of mandatory requirements highlights a "paralysis of government" that leaves hospital workers unprotected from Ebola.

The group is turning to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to act and will hold a press conference outside the agency's headquarters Tuesday, urging swift regulatory action.

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The group is pointing to California's new Ebola guidelines for hospital workers as a "landmark" example for federal regulators.

"The nurses are fighting for the public," NNU executive director RoseAnn DeMoro said in a statement.

"They went to the (California) governor demanding action. He departed from the paralysis of government and corporate inaction,” she continued. “He listened intently and heard the nurses reports of how deeply unprepared and resistant hospitals were and he moved to protect the public, the nurses, and other healthcare workers."

The nurses group is pushing for federal regulators, as well as regulators in other states, to adopt the same Ebola hospital regulations as California.

This would include providing full-body protective suits to hospital workers who comes in contact with an Ebola patient. These suits would need to safeguard skin from being exposed and protect against blood and viral penetration. They would be available to nurses, as well as hospital workers who clean contaminated areas and dispose of contaminated materials.

Hospital workers should also receive training for dealing with Ebola patients, the group says.