Archive for: October, 2008

Ask the expert—Spill response

By: October 24th, 2008 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: What is the standard volume for “large” and “small” spills?

A: Sometimes the rule of thumb on this question is that you can consider anything 1 gal or less a small spill, and everything above 1 gal a large spill. However, depending on what materials are in question, you might need to make adjustments.

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Check your stopwatch to measure eyewash station needs

By: October 24th, 2008 Email This Post Print This Post

The topic of eyewash stations comes up a lot.

In general, the OSHA medical services and first aid standard requires eyewash stations in locations in which there is a risk of accidental exposure to corrosive or caustic materials.

There are definitely specific environments—high-level disinfection and processing areas for one—where I would be looking for eyewash stations, but only after looking at the chemicals involved.

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Ask the expert—MSDS for household products

By: October 23rd, 2008 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: Must my practice have material safety data sheets (MSDS) for household products used in the workplace?

A: This is a common question; the classic examples being glass cleaners such as Windex and correction fluid such as Wite-Out.

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Ask the expert—Written plan

By: October 23rd, 2008 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: Must a medical practice have a written hazard communication plan?

A: If hazardous chemicals are present in the workplace, OSHA requires a written hazard communication plan. The plan must include:

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Ask the expert—Requirements for serologic testing

By: October 23rd, 2008 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: For a worker who received the hepatitis B vaccine prior to June 2001 and did not have a titer, is the employer obligated to draw a titer now?

No. A November 9, 2005, OSHA letter of interpretation and the June 2001 CDC/USPHS guidelines for occupational bloodborne exposures say that periodic serologic testing to monitor antibody concentrations after completion of the three-dose series is not recommended.

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Ask the expert—Clerical staff and HBV vaccination

By: October 23rd, 2008 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: Are we in violation of OSHA by not offering the hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccine to clerical and administrative staff?

A: No, you are not violating OSHA. The bloodborne pathogens standard standard. defines occupational exposure as

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Ask the expert—Who is covered under the standard?

By: October 23rd, 2008 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: What workers are covered under the bloodborne pathogens standard?

A: Workers with occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens or other potentially infectious material are covered under the standard. To OSHA, occupational exposure “means

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Ask the expert—Bloodborne pathogens and small medical practice exemption

By: October 23rd, 2008 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: Is there a magic number of employees that exempts a medical practice from having to follow the OSHA bloodborne pathogens standard and safety needle rules?

A: That the OSHA bloodborne pathogens standard does not apply to small medical practices is a lingering misconception. But a January 20, 2004, OSHA letter of interpretation makes things perfectly clear:

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Size doesn’t matter; not when it comes to OSHA inspections

By: October 22nd, 2008 Email This Post Print This Post

There is a false assumption that small physician practices are immune to OSHA inspections.

That’s just not true.

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I heard that . . . but is it really an OSHA matter

By: October 17th, 2008 Email This Post Print This Post

Often I receive a question that starts with: “Somebody told me that OSHA. . .” or “I heard in a meeting that OSHA. . .” And the verbs that usually follow are: requires mandates, insists, or if stated in the negative, prohibits, restricts, forbids.

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It’s electric

By: October 16th, 2008 Email This Post Print This Post

Whether it was from an accident, or an innocent childhood dare, almost everyone knows the jolt of at least a small electrical shock.

But just because you thought it was funny to stick your finger in an outlet when you were a kid, doesn’t mean electrical safety should be taken lightly. With all the electrical machinery present in a laboratory, it’s important to train staff on how to handle shocks and follow OSHA’s electrical standard.

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Fire extinguisher 101

By: October 16th, 2008 Email This Post Print This Post

A fire extinguisher seems like a relatively simple tool to use. Aim, squeeze, shoot, right?

Well, yes, but even a small fire could cause a brief panic. When your mind is racing, an easy way to remember fire extinguisher procedure is the acronym PASS.

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