Archive for: November, 2008
Even with all the hype over preventing MRSA, MRI-suites are managing to escape the thorough attention that other parts of the hospital are getting.
The reason? Housekeeping staff and most cleaning equipment are prohibited from the MRI-suite because of the strong magnetic fields that have led to accidents in the past. The drawback is an MRI machine that could be harboring MRSA, according to the paper Preventing Infection in MRI: Best Practices for Infection by Peter Rothschild, MD, which was published on AuntMinnie.com.
How difficult is it to get the regulated medical waste (RMW) into a red bag, then to the licensed waste hauler, and disposed of according to state law? Apparently it isn’t as easy as you would think.
My Google search for regulated medical waste routinely digs up incidents where healthcare facilities appear to violate RMW laws. Though vastly different in circumstances, here are two examples that generated a dumpster full of problems.
A dentist, Thomas W. McFarland Jr., of Wynnewood, PA, was indicted for unlawful discharge of a pollutant and unlawful disposal of regulated medical waste, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 19. McFarland, who practices in Pennsylvania but owns a beach house in Township, NJ, allegedly took small motor boat to the Townsend Inlet and dumped syringes, swabs, and capsules of used filling material. (Didn’t Tony Soprano try this “disposal” method with the rat Sal Bonpensiero?)
You’ve heard the expression, “don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”
Well, when dealing with eyewash stations, you can think of it this way: “Don’t let the door hit you on the way in.”
At least that’s what the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recommends (see page four). According to ANSI updates in 2004, your facility may have a door separating emergency fixtures, but that door cannot have a lock and in must open towards the shower or eyewash station.
Plumbing the intricacies of eyewash station selection
Safety tip from Medical Environment Update, December 2008
Generally, eyewash stations with bottles of buffered solution don’t meet OSHA requirements—at least not for exposure to injurious corrosive materials. That is because in these types of exposures, OSHA requires “suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body.” The suitability of an eyewash station is not addressed in the standard, 1910.151(c), but any OSHA inspector will likely reference the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for eyewash stations.
Violence in the ER is a hot topic that continues to concern hospital safety and security officials. Recently, nurses in Massachusetts have expressed frustration over going to work fearful of being assaulted.
Although ER nurses and doctors certainly face an escalated risk, violence is not just limited to the hospital. OSHA has workplace violence prevention guidelines that apply to all healthcare settings.
How often do you walk down the street and notice little white buds growing from people’s ears? Thanks to the iPod, people worldwide walk to work or ride the subway to their own personalized soundtrack.
But now it seems the iPod craze has made its way into the lab. At first you might think it seems like a progressive job perk, but unless Apple releases the “iPod Infection Control,” it’s probably not a good idea.
When dealing with hazardous drugs, it’s just not enough to have personal protective equipment available. Specifics like correct fitting, proper training, and knowledge of equipment limitations needs to be addressed in order to ensure safety in your facility.
How many times have you put on a mask that just doesn’t fit right? Or seen a coworker improperly remove a gown or gloves?
Although it was not a hot campaign item by either party, in the wake of the presidential election, lots of safety experts and OSHA watchers have speculated as to what the Obama administration will mean to OSHA.
Conventional wisdom says that OSHA is more active under a Democrat administration. As critics of the current administration like to point out, fewer OSHA standards have been promulgated under President Bush than any of his predecessors since the OSHA Act became law in 1970. In case you forgot, that was under President Nixon.
Most of the prognosticators point to more energetic enforcement—meaning more inspections, higher fines, maybe even criminal penalties for egregious violations—the approval of new standards, additional funding for training, and the resurrection of the ergonomic standard, albeit in a different form.
Just for fun, imagine you have a direct line to the President-elect’s ear. What OSHA changes would you suggest specific to healthcare?
My good friend Ron Stoker, executive director for the International Sharps Injury Prevention Society (ISIPS), is collecting information on healthcare safety devices, and he is willing to bribe you for information.
The Compendium of Infection Control Technologies is the most comprehensive resource on safety devices used in healthcare. For all of you who don’t know about safety devices—or work with physicians who claim that there are no commercially available safety devices to adopt—check out the ISIPS safety products list. You might be surprised.
Q: What does OSHA say about the home laundering of scrubs?
A: If in your facility scrubs do not function as personal proactive equipment (PPE)—most scrubs function as uniform and not PPE—then OSHA does not have oversight on laundering.
If the scrubs function as PPE, then the employer is in violation of the bloodborne pathogen standards by having employees clean, launder, and maintain them on their own:
No matter what the season, questions about casual footwear—mostly sandals, clogs, and Crocs—and compliance with OSHA’s bloodborne pathogens standard always seem to crop up.
Maybe it’s global warming that is the cause for all those exposed toes and heels, or is it just that employees are adamant that the workplace not infringe on their sense of foot fashion or comfort?
Flu vaccination has just begun, and already there is a problem. But this issue affects employees rather than patients.
The California Department of Public Health found that pre-filled Fluvirin syringes by Novartis lacked a safety device that protects healthcare workers from needlesticks, according to a report from the International Sharps Injury Prevention Society (ISIPS). These products have been distributed nationwide.