OSHA releases anthrax risk reduction matrix

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has developed a system, called the anthrax risk reduction matrix, to determine the risk of an anthrax attack in an effort to reduce the possibility of exposure in the workplace.  

The system helps employers determine the precautions they should take by organizing worksites into three risk zones – green, yellow and red – depending on how likely they are to be contaminated with anthrax spores, Safety.BLR.com reports.

The green zone classification is for workplaces where it is unlikely that anthrax spore contamination will occur. This is reserved for most of the workplaces in the United States. Since October 2001, there have been very few discoveries of anthrax in general workplaces. If a place of work is in the green zone, specific measures to protect against anthrax contamination are most likely not necessary.

The yellow zone encompasses workplaces where anthrax spore contamination is possible. Yellow zone workplaces include those that handle bulk mail, those that handle mail from facilities known to have contamination, those that may be the targets of bio-terrorists and those located close to facilities that are known to be contaminated, Safety.BLR.com reports.

Red zone workplaces are those where authorities have informed workers that anthrax spore contamination has occurred or is strongly suspected. An employer dealing with a red zone situation may need to take different actions depending on the facts and nature of the incident. These employers should follow instructions that are given by public health agencies or law enforcement to give appropriate information to employees.