Archive for: January, 2009

OSHA posters are free, if you know where to find them

By: January 30th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Maybe you have received insistent calls or clutter-causing junk mail about needing to buy an all-in-one OSHA poster this year.

That’s one way to go to meet the poster display requirement, but OSHA wants employers to know that you don’t need a new poster every year, and you certainly don’t have to pay for it.

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Some lab coats should stay in the lab

By: January 29th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

With a crackdown on the spread of infectious diseases, particularly regarding multi-drug resistant organisms (MDRO), there has been some media buzz about wearing scrubs outside of the hospital.

Although some healthcare facilities have created policies barring scrubs outside of the premises, there are no regulations or standards prohibiting staff from doing so. Furthermore, scrubs are not considered personal protective equipment (PPE), so technically OSHA has no say in this matter.

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Safety blogs everywhere, and that’s good

By: January 28th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Sometimes it is difficult to draw the line between patient safety and worker safety.

Infection control issues will morph into blooddborne pathogen concerns, and hazardous exposures, chemical spills, or emergency situations can pose as much danger to patients as to staff members.

Indeed, safety experts will tell you that an organization with a solid safety culture won’t compartmentalize patient safety and occupational safety into fiefdoms, at least not to the extent where one safety hand doesn’t know what the other is doing.

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TB house arrest

By: January 27th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Has even a little part of you ever daydreamed about being under house arrest? It can’t be that bad. No commitments, no obligations, total relaxation…

Usually those real world house arrest sentences involve some sort of crime, but one Illinois citizen is being sentenced simply because he has tuberculosis (TB).

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Ask the expert—May I get rid of material safety data sheets for household products?

By: January 26th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: To clean out my files, may I eliminate material safety data sheets (MSDS) for household products such as soaps and cleaners without incurring an OSHA violation?

A: You can do without MSDS for consumer products commonly used in the workplace if employees use the products according to the label.

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If you qualify, enjoy this OSHA exemption

By: January 26th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

It is not often that the federal government eliminates paperwork, so be sure to take advantage of OSHA’s recordkeeping exemption for certain healthcare facility types, including medical and dental practices.

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Poll Question: How well do you know OSHA standards?

By: January 26th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

OSHA standards can be a bit overwhelming at times. All too frequently medical professionals run into situations that may or may not fall under OSHA regulation (hence our ask the expert column posts). Many times, you just have to ask yourself, is this really and OSHA matter?

But we’re curious, how frequently do you run into these kinds of situations?


Quizzes by Quibblo.com

Note: Adobe Flash Player is required to view this poll. To download the latest version, click here.

Ask the Expert—Covers for electric outlets

By: January 23rd, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: Do the electric outlets in our patient waiting area need safety covers?

A: OSHA does not address patient safety concerns, so unless the outlets pose an unusual hazard to workers, you would not need covers.

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Fingernails, food, and beards

By: January 22nd, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

David Harbaugh, from the Complete Guide to Lab Safety, 2nd Edition

“… I can’t believe anyone would wear artificial nails in the lab…”

By David Harbaugh, from the Complete Guide to Lab Safety, 2nd Edition

Hopefully your lab doesn’t look like the one pictured above. If it does, you might need more help than just this post.

Regardless, with regulations, annual training and education, and constant surveillance, it’s easy to forget even the simplest work practices that keep lab workers, healthcare workers and patients safe.

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Ask the Expert—Healthcare laundry guidelines

By: January 21st, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: As a healthcare facility that does its own laundering, are we required to use a particular laundry detergent?

A: Neither OSHA nor the CDC specify the type of detergent to use but the CDC  Guidelines for Laundry in Health Care Facilities does recommends a temperature of at least 160° F

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Ask the Expert—OSHA annual training and quick tip download tool

By: January 21st, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: I know OSHA requires annual training for bloodborne pathogens, but isn’t annual training also required for hazard communication, fire safety, and emergency preparedness?

A:  Federal OSHA does not require annual training on hazard communication and emergency action plans standards. OSHA requires initial training on hire and when hazards change to the extent that additional training is required.

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Don’t get hit for unsafe injection procedures

By: January 20th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

There’s been a lot in the news over the last few weeks regarding safe injection measures, particularly in settings outside of the hospital.

A new study conducted by the CDC and published in the January 6 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine found that over the last decade more than 60,000 patients in the United States have been asked to get tested for hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV). These infections occurred in non-hospital settings and were a direct result of poor infection control practices.

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