Archive for: October, 2008
Despite influenza vaccination campaigns in recent years, flu shot acceptance rate among healthcare workers still hovers around only 42%. That’s a low rate by any measure for a supposedly well-informed occupational class such as healthcare workers.
Recently the Association for Professionals in Infection Control (APIC) has released recommendations that healthcare facilities obtain statements that acknowledge patient risk from employees who decline the vaccine without a medical reason.
Take a look at these staggering statistics:
When a patient is in cardiac arrest, their survival rate is as high as 70% when they are reached within the first three minutes. For each minute of delay after that the victims chance of survival decreases by 10%. After ten minutes their chance for survival is merely 5%.
There may be no getting around it, especially at this time of the year, but a little bit of the Scrooge personality type comes with the responsibility of being safety officer.
Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, and other holidays inspire staff members to set up decorations, which could result in fire and occupational safety risks.
These initiatives are often well intentioned, meant to bring a touch of cheer to a sometimes sterile healthcare environment. But safety officers will bear the brunt of blame if things go wrong with decorations.
So, OSHA is standing at your doorstep… what now?
In this months issue of Medical Environment Update, Ann Costello MT(ASCP), a clinical lab scientist at IGO Medical Group in San Diego and safety officer at the 10-physician facility shares some of her experiences complying with OSHA standards. Costello also indicated she had experienced an OSHA inspection at a previous employer, and offered some advice that we have conveniently turned into a game of fact or fiction.
The November issue of Medical Environment Update features an article about OSHA inspections in physician offices, and behind all the numbers and statistics, it seems the best way complying with standards (especially in the smaller setting) involves many voices rather than just one.
Lisa Sisneros, OT-C, an orthopedic technologist at Panorama Orthopedics and Spine Center in Golden, Colorodo is her facility’s safety coordinator, but receives a lot of support from a safety committee made up of employees throughout the clinic. Here’s what she had to say:
With spiraling economy and an indecisive stock market, America’s workforce is holding on to jobs longer while they still can.
Translation: we have an aging workforce, and don’t expect it to change anytime soon.
Here’s something you won’t find in the OSHA rulebook.
Although pipette tips aren’t traditionally considered sharps, they do pose a threat to break through a bag exposing an employee. So what’s the solution?
It’s probably safe to say that if you work in the medical field, you don’t want to see your name in the newspaper preceding the words “illegally dumping waste.”
To avoid being in that infamous headline, be sure to adhere to the most recent Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute (formally NCCLS) guidelines which were last updated in 2002. You can expect further updates to be released in 2010, but in the meantime, it’s important to remember waste management is not limited to “red bag” waste, but includes hazardous, exhausts, water, solid waste and waste transportation.
As the winter months approach you may have begun to notice a few familiar sounds.
Say, coughing and sneezing?
This makes it a perfect time to remind employees to prevent the spread of infections by coughing into their shirt sleeve rather than their hands.
How would you like to be responsible for OSHA compliance at a healthcare facility where the local newspaper reports that one of your managers allegedly disciplined a staff member by making her rummage through biohazardous waste? And, on top of that, the employee who filed the complaint with OSHA is now suing you for wrongful termination under the Whistleblower Act.
Sorry for the over-the-top alliteration, but I knew I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to use it when I attended a presentation on slip, trip, and fall (STF) hazards at the Association of Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare (AOHP) annual meeting in September.
During the meeting, James W. Collins, PhD, a researcher at NIOSH, shared the latest information on STF, which is the No. 1 cause for workers’ compensation claim in healthcare.
Collins and colleagues used data from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health—they are the world’s experts on slip surfaces, he explained—and Liberty Mutual insurance company to design an STF prevention study that looked at seven shoe types and eight floor types in three hospitals.
Although it might not be the next topic featured in a most-dangerous-job reality TV show, a healthcare occupation comes with significant risks.
Some of those risks are potent drugs, which can work wonders when targeted toward patients’ ills but also present occupational hazards to caregivers, including adversely affecting the reproductive systems of those exposed.
With more healthcare being delivered outside of hospitals, workers in ambulatory settings are certainly not immune to workplace reproductive hazards.