Using the hierarchy of control technologies to improve healthcare facility infection control: lessons from severe acute respiratory syndrome

J Occup Environ Med. 2004 Jul;46(7):613-22. doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000134191.92225.f2.


Health care facilities need to review their infection control plans to prepare for the possible resurgence of severe acute respiratory syndrome, other emerging pathogens, familiar infectious agents such as tuberculosis and influenza, and bioterrorist threats. This article describes the classic "hierarchy of control technologies" that was successfully used by occupational and environmental medicine professionals to protect workers from illness and death during the resurgence of tuberculosis in the 1990s. Also discussed are related guidelines from building and equipment professional organizations and novel infection control techniques used successfully by various hospitals in Asia, Canada, and the United States during the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome epidemic. Taken together, they suggest a framework upon which a comprehensive infection control plan can be crafted to prevent the spread of deadly infectious agents to health care workers (clinicians and paraprofessionals), uninfected patients and visitors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disaster Planning*
  • Environmental Medicine
  • Health Facility Administration*
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Infection Control*
  • Occupational Health*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / prevention & control*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / transmission
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / prevention & control*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / transmission