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Regulatory gray areas around this series of less-than-best practices

I was asked about a clean utility room that is also an electrical storage closet, which contains electrical panels, many wires, and oxygen cylinder storage against the wires.

It sounds like the organization had to make use of the available space for its network cabling, and while this is not an optimal environment of care practice, there’s no real regulatory language that precludes it. That said, there are a couple of things I would cite as “other environmental concerns” to consider: [more]

Go ahead, ask your haulers about regulated medical waste

A lot of the rules regarding regulated medical waste live at the state level, and generally the most knowledgeable folks in the food chain are the medical waste disposal people — in other words, your vendors and haulers.

My consultative advice would be [more]

Even with electronic water temperature control, an argument for mixing valves

I caught wind of an organization that uses an electronic water temperature control system that keeps the water temp at 110° F. There’s been some pushback from facilities folks about whether they still need to install a mixing valve.

I would suggest that if the organization has a risk assessment finding that indicates a mixing valve is not necessary, [more]

Properly secured medical gas cylinders center on convenience — that’s all

I’m told there was a mention at the ASHE conference that The Joint Commission might introduce a compressed medical gas cylinder standard in 2011.

And what wonders would result from a compressed gas storage standard? Oh yes, that’ll force [more]

Keeping tabs on glutaraldehyde sneaking back in

A word of advice relative to conducting safety rounds: Sometimes a little due diligence will help keep things on the straight and narrow.

Lately in my client work, I’ve been running into glutaraldehyde-based disinfectants [more]

Be wary of MSDS exemption for consumer cleaning products

My colleagues and I had a discussion recently about an OSHA reference for when material safety data sheets (MSDS) are not required when staff members use everyday consumer cleaning products.

This comes from OSHA’s hazard communications standard (1910.1200), in which [more]

Hazmat inventory provisions under EC.02.02.01

Environment of care standard EC.02.02.01 talks of maintaining an inventory of hazardous materials and waste.

I’ve been wondering when folks such as you would get around to looking over the revised hazmat standard under EC.02.02.01. After the establishment of the new life safety and emergency management standards for 2009, The Joint Commission did the most tinkering [more]

Lead aprons and hazardous waste disposal

I found myself in an e-mail conversation recently about the disposal of lead radiation aprons and whether there is a hazardous waste or EPA aspect to this activity.

My experience has been [more]

Air pollution control devices may help with upcoming EPA notification

The EPA put a new rule into effect in December that requires hospitals with ethylene oxide (EtO) sterilizers to run full loads.

Partial loads may be run if medically necessary, and in all cases, hospitals must document every sterilizer load and, when loads aren’t full, note the medical reasons. The EPA mandates initial notification of compliance status for existing sterilizers by June 27, 2009.

An EPA brochure on the subject indicates one of the key compliance methods is the use of [more]

Though EPA is proposing pharmaceutical waste changes, pay attention to your state

Pharmaceutical waste, as they say in the industry, is a very sticky wicket. There is certainly a great deal of anticipation that the RCRA restrictions (nice alliteration, eh?) will be relaxed to a degree that is most favorable to hospitals when it comes to this waste (see the January 29 Hospital Safety Connection for a brief rundown of what’s happening).

Basically, universal waste includes [more]