Archive for: March, 2009

Ask the expert—Citations without a TB standard

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

Q: How can OSHA cite a facility on TB when it doesn’t have a TB standard?

A: It is true that OSHA withdrew its proposed TB standard on December 31, 2003, but the agency identifies existing standards on its TB hazards Web page that are relevant whenever an employee may be occupationally exposed to TB:

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Easing injured workers back into the job

By: March 19th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Especially now, when staffing numbers and morale are likely stretched thin, it’s more important than ever to remember to ease workers returning from an injury back into the rigors of the healthcare profession. Throwing them in at full speed will only lengthen their recovery process and sacrifice morale for immediate production.

The fact is, the healthcare industry is tied with manufacturing as the second most injurious profession, so it’s rare that any injury can be completely avoided. Many of those injuries are a result of needlesticks or chemical exposure, but with an overabundance of ergonomics hazards in the workplace, a back injury can be just as serious, and more nagging.

That’s why it’s imperative to build a comprehensive return-to-work (RTW) program that includes input from employees, supervisors, and physicians.

Employees will frequently use this time of year to go on vacation, leaving those workers recovering from an injury in a precarious position to pull some extra weight, even when they might not be able to pull their own. While crafting an RTW program, managers and supervisors need to have information about both the human and financial costs of workplace injuries

Early implementation of an RTW program will allow an injured worker to ease back into their respective job, and avoid re-injury. Managers are often reluctant to bring an injured employee back because they want a full performance person to do the job and they believe light duty is hard to coordinate in the fast-paced healthcare environment. But input from the both the employee and their doctor will help them readjust at a comfortable pace, with relative productivity. More importantly it will get them back to full productivity faster.

And if you are looking at it from a financial standpoint, it is often less expensive to find lighter duties for an injured worker, than paying workers compensation benefits. Employees with injuries can be extremely productive if given the right tasks.

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What happens in Vegas actually doesn’t stay in Vegas

By: March 18th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

When someone mentions Las Vegas, your first thought probably turns to unsafe financial practices rather than unsafe injection practices.

But if you remember, in February 2008, Nevada health officials revealed unsafe injection practices at an outpaitient clinic potentially put thousands at risk for hepatitis C. The city eventually closed two Las Vegas outpatient endoscopy centers for reusing syringes and vaccines and urged 40,000 Las Vegas-area patients to get tested, the largest patient notification in U.S. history. All told, nine people were found to have contracted the virus.

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Using Shakespeare for bloodborne pathogens training

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

And with them words of so sweet breath compos’d
As made the things more rich.
Hamlet [III, 1]

No one would confuse the compliance-speak of OSHA’s bloodborne pathogens with the purple passages of Shakespeare. Right?

Both the standard and the Bard address heavy and heady stuff, but wouldn’t it be a shame if we failed to heed the OSHA standard because the language is so boring.

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Top 10 States for OSHA Physician Office Inspections

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

When it comes to states with the most OSHA inspections of offices and clinics of medical doctors, 10 states, seven with their own state-run enforcement agencies, accounted for 72% of all inspections, according to OSHA statistics for FY 2008, the most recent data available.

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Weekly Poll: Are you going green?

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

Many hospitals, and now quite a few smaller practices, are moving towards a more environmentally friendly practice, implementing a number of initiatives including reducing red bag waste, recycling, and even becoming mercury free. Although hospitals consume massive amounts of energy, smaller medical settings can do their part in greening healthcare as well.

Has your facility implemented any green initiatives?

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Bookmark your way to savvy OSHA compliance

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

Bookmarking key CDC documents in your browser could win you points during an OSHA inspection.

The bloodborne pathogens standard mandates that employers follow the latest U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) guidelines for the management of occupationally acquired bloodborne pathogen infections.

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When patients bring food in the lab, and sharps disposal

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

It’s been said before on this blog, but its worth repeating that sometimes on the surface a situation may look like it warrants OSHA oversight simply because it involves safety. But you often have to take a closer look at whether that situation impacts the worker or the patient.

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MRIs get Joint Commission attention

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

Back in November we wrote about how MRI suites were not getting the same attention as other parts of the hospital in terms of cleaning to prevent MRSA infections. The post revolved around a white paper by Peter Rothschild, MD, that explained the neglect these suites were receiving.

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Ask the expert—Qualifications as bloodborne pathogens trainer

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

Q: When we do our initial and annual bloodborne pathogens training, does the presenter have to be one of our physicians?

A: No, a physician does not have to oversee bloodborne pathogens training.

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Ask the expert—Electronic MSDS systems

By: March 10th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: Is putting our material safety data sheet (MSDS) binder online in compliance with OSHA?

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Weekly Poll: Flu season evaluation

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

Over the last few weeks, particularly at the end of February, more and more people have been noticing an increase in flu cases. Two week ago, in the midst of flu talk, researchers discovered new antibodies that could have a significant impact on future vaccines, further sparking the end-of-winter flu discussion.

Do you think this flu season been better or worse than previous years?

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