<--! DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN"> In-House Composting:Knowledge Review
In-House Composting
PPE for Avian Influenza

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APHIS Directive 6800.1 (APHISDirective6800_1.pdf) and the APHIS Health and Safety Plan (HASP) Template for additional guidance.

PPE includes a variety of devices and garments including goggles, face shields, safety glasses, coveralls, gloves, earplugs, respirators, hard hats, safety shoes and rubber boots. The specific type of PPE selected depends on the site specific hazards, and will be identified in the site specific health and safety plan.

This topic covers health risks associated with in-house composting and the PPE required to minimize those risks.

Protective Equipment

In-house Composting and Health Risks

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The AI virus is found in feces and respiratory secretions of infected poultry, in contaminated soil and dust from poultry houses, and on contaminated farm equipment, feed, cages and clothing.

During in-house composting operations, the virus may be aerosolized and inhaled into the lungs or contact mucus membranes.

Although transmission of the AI virus to humans is rare, it can be fatal. Therefore, the use of adequate personal protective equipment is essential.

Front end loader dumping compost.

Prerequisites for Performing AI-infected Carcass Disposal Duties

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Personnel who may participate on the carcass disposal team should be medically cleared, fit-tested, and trained in the use of PPE in order to minimize the risk of contracting the disease.

APHIS employees should contact their supervisor for the appropriate forms, fit testing, and training.

Other Health Recommendations

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Although the seasonal influenza vaccine does not protect against the AI virus, personnel are encouraged to receive the current season's vaccine to prevent the potential genetic reassortment of avian influenza virus with the human seasonal influenza virus. Additionally, personnel working with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) are highly encouraged to take an influenza antiviral drug daily for the duration of time they have direct contact with poultry, their secretions, or contaminated surfaces. Personnel should continue to take the drug for 7 days after the last day of potential virus exposure.

Workers must monitor their health for the development of fever, respiratory symptoms, and/or conjunctivitis (eye infections) for 1 week after their last exposure to HPAI virus-infected or exposed poultry, or to potentially contaminated environmental surfaces.

Personal Protective Equipment

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To reduce the risk of exposure to AI when performing in-house composting operations, it is important that you wear the proper PPE. PPE should include:

Decontamination trailers may be located at the exit from the contaminated area, or workers may be transported from the carcass disposal site to the decontamination location where they will remove contaminated clothing, shower and don clean clothing prior to leaving the premises.

ppe worker

Personal Protective Equipment: Coveralls

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Coveralls must be selected based on the nature of the work to be performed and must either be disposable or suitable for disinfection by spraying with disinfectant solution.

If cleaning and disinfection are tasks that will be involved, the outer garments must be more durable and less permeable. For those activities, TyChem (or equivalent) coveralls and boot covers are effective. For all other activities, Tyvek (or equivalent) coveralls and boot covers can be used.

Person wearing coveralls

Personal Protective Equipment: Respirators

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Respirator:  APHIS carcass disposal team members must use an N-95 or higher protection disposable particulate respirator that has been fit-tested and meets respiratory requirements defined by OSHA in 29 CFR 1910.

The following represent some of the respirators used by APHIS that satisfy both OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) requirements:

N-95 and full face respirator

Personal Protective Equipment: Foot Protection

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Foot protection should include:

Note IconFor HPAI-infected operations, secure coverall legs over the boots with duct (or similar) tape.

Protective boots and shoe covers

Personal Protective Equipment: Head, Eye, and Hand Protection

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Hand protection: Gloves capable of being disinfected or disposed.

Eye protection: Non-vented eye goggles, or at a minimum, indirectly vented with anti-fog coating.

Head protection:

Note: Chem-tape® or equivalent may be used to secure sleeves over gloves and coverall legs inside of rubber boots.

Goggles, glove, mask and hardhat.

Disposal and Disinfection of Equipment

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Following exposure to AI it is important that you properly dispose or clean and disinfect PPE. This includes:

Note Icon If decontamination trailers are used, containers will be provided for contaminated reusable clothing as well as for contaminated disposable items.

Person stepping in a portable foot bath to decontaminate boots

Personal Hygiene

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Personal hygiene procedures must be followed to ensure the AI virus is not contracted by workers and it is not transported from the infected site.  

Note IconAll APHIS employees participating in the composting operation must shower at the end of the work shift.

Open Decon Trailer

Knowledge Review

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The following Knowledge Review is a multiple choice question. Only one answer is correct; select the best answer and feedback will immediately appear.

Which of the following is not an example of a good selection of Personal Protective Equipment for use in an avian influenza outbreak?

B. Goggles
A. Tennis shoes
C. Respirators
D. Coveralls

Knowledge Review

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The following Knowledge Review allows for multiple correct answers. Select all of the answers that are correct, then select the Check Answer button and feedback will appear.

Which of the following are health and safety prerequisites for working with AI-infected materials.

Medically cleared
CPR certified
Fit tested to ensure the respirator provides a good seal
Trained in the use of PPE

Knowledge Review

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The following Knowledge Review is a multiple choice question. Only one answer is correct; select the best answer and feedback will immediately appear.

Which of the following is a potential human health risk when working with AI-infected carcasses?

The virus may be transported on clothing to other poultry farms
The virus may be contracted by direct skin contact with an infected bird or farm equipment
The virus may become aerosolized and inhaled by workers