Archive for: February, 2009

Ask the Expert – Decontaminating EMS/firefighter equipment

By: February 17th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: We have taught our paramedics and firefighters that their uniform is NOT PPE and that if their bunker gear gets soiled with blood or other potentially infectious materials, it may be hard to decontaminate. Do you have any suggestions for the cleaning of bunker gear and the heavy leather gloves they use?

A: While there are plenty of laundry regulations concerning PPE for healthcare workers, there are few guidelines for paramedics or firefighters. However, there are plenty of instances where both could come in contact with bloodborne pathogens.

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Weekly Poll: Dangers of healthcare

By: February 16th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Last week’s post on injury statistics from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) addressed the dangers of working in the healthcare setting. BLS lists healthcare workers tied for second on its list of non-fatal injuries and illnesses among private sector industries, with 5.6 reported injuries or illnesses per 100 full-time workers.

Are you surprised at those stats?


Quizzes by Quibblo.com

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

Healthcare profession not injurious to your health? Wrong

By: February 13th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

A February 10 NIOSH eNews report about a new monthly feature showing a chart or statistical summary highlighting research, and prevention issues made a sobering point: healthcare jobs are as dangerous as manufacturing jobs.

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Eight P’s of safety

By: February 12th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

It’s not uncommon for safety officers to be viewed by employees as more of an “officer” than a promoter. They often face the challenge of overcoming the watchdog perception, while maintaining a firm handle on the facility’s safety issues.

But part of changing that perception is building a culture where workers have an ingrained sense of safety. These eight, easy to remember tips should offer a simple reminder to you and your co-workers.

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Lip synching to prevent flu

By: February 11th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

My colleagues at Patient Safety Monitor Blog posted a report about how a Philadelphia hospital produced a music video to boost its employee vaccination rate.

Click here to read how the intrepid folks at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) produced the video. But if you need your YouTube fix for the day right now, here is HUP’s “Baby be wise—Immunize” video.

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Ask the Expert—Syringes as medical waste

By: February 9th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: For an uncontaminated syringe used only to flush an IV line, may we dispose as regular solid waste?

A: OSHA says you may, but it does not have oversight responsibility for state waste regulations.

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Weekly Poll: OSHA time management

By: February 9th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

OHSA requirements squeeze a lot of time out of safety officers, whether it’s reading or interpreting standards, or just determining if a particular situation merits OSHA consideration. How much of your time is taken up by OSHA?


Quizzes by Quibblo.com

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

Medical Environment Update—Ergonomics keeps workers healthy, budgets happy

By: February 6th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Workplace injuries can be a huge burden, especially for small healthcare facilities. But an ergonomics policy doesn’t need a lot of bells and whistles, reports the February issue of Medical Environment Update.

Numbers show that an ergonomics policy in healthcare is arguably more crucial than in any other industry.

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Hospital renovations cited in lawsuit

By: February 5th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

For those Infection Preventionists who have stopped by our blog lately, this story may be of interest to you.

This morning, the Associated Press reported that the families of three pediatric cancer patients filed a lawsuit against St. Joseph’s Hospital Inc. in Tampa, FL. The lawsuit alleges that the children – ages 2, 5, and 9 – died after contracting fugal infections because they were exposed to pathogenic fungi after the hospital failed to properly seal off an area during renovation.

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Even with EPA’s proposed pharmaceutical waste changes, state regulations still matter

By: February 5th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Pharmaceutical waste, as they say in the industry, is a very sticky wicket. There is certainly a great deal of anticipation that the RCRA restrictions (nice alliteration, eh?) will be relaxed to a degree that is most favorable to healthcare facilities when it comes to this waste (see the free article posted on the Hospital Safety Connection for a brief rundown of what’s happening and happening and how to comment on the proposal, which the EPA will accept until March 4).

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Hand sanitizer happy hour

By: February 4th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Have you ever considered that the same stuff you are using to bump up your hand hygiene could lead to an intoxicated staff?

Don’t worry; you won’t have to start giving sobriety tests to your employees. A study published in the American Journal of Infection Control in 2006, found out for certain that alcohol-based hand sanitizers don’t have any effect on your blood-alcohol level.

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Ask the Expert—End-of-the-day exam room cleaning

By: February 2nd, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: I’m concerned that housekeeping staff are not cleaning and replacing the paper on exam room tables at the end of every day. What regulation can I point to make sure this is done?

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