According to a statistic from an American Society for Healthcare Engineering  survey, 70% of healthcare facilities undergo some type of construction project everyday. So, it was not surprising to have read last week about hospital renovations cited in a lawsuit where three pediatric cancer patients died .
Given that much construction, even during tough economic times, I’ m surprised there are not more lawsuits. As an aside, an upcoming HCPro audioconference, Infection Control During Construction and Renovation , offers advice and guidance for hospitals preparing for even the smallest renovations. Listen to the audio link below for a free preview.
Construction could affect another safety concern, worker safety, especially with regard to evacuation plans.
OSHA says “almost every business is required to have an emergency action plan (EAP).” Businesses with more than 10 employees must have the pan in writing while facilities with 10 or fewer employees may communicate the plan orally, according to the EAP standard 1910.38 .
You might have a nicely written plan filed away, but if circumstances such as construction activity force a change in plan, you must communicate the change to employees according to 1910.38(f)(3) . Construction in your facility could affect:
- Availability of evacuation and exit route assignments
- Procedures to account for all employees after evacuation (e.g. where to assemble outside immediately after an evacuation)
These are two elements that must be part of an OSHA-compliant evacuation plan.
Fortunately, OSHA provides a good eTool for creating or revising evacuation plans.  A few minutes answering or expanding upon the eTool prompts will produce your written plan.
While a posted escape route map is not specifically required by the EAP standard, it is a good idea to post maps in several places. If you have maps already posted, check them to see if any construction activity makes them obsolete. To download a free escape plan worksheet, go to the Tools page of this web site. 
Below is a free preview of Infection Control During Construction and Renovation , with speaker Tom Huser, MS, CHSP, a safety coordinator with Clarian Health in Indianapolis.