Archive for: April, 2009
In case you haven’t seen it yet, the World Health Organization (WHO) raised the pandemic alert level to phase 5 last night, indicating a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent.
From a statement from Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO general-director:
This week’s focus on swine flu has jolted a number of healthcare facilities to reconsider whether they need a respiratory protection plan for their employees. I know, because I’m receiving the phone calls to prove it.
As one caller put it: “If I can get enough N95 respirators to protect my employees, what do I need to do to have my employees wear them?
Q: There is a lot of confusion as to who are considered healthcare workers with regard to OSHA standards. Can you please clarify for us?
A: From a compliance standpoint, OSHA does not have standards specific to healthcare workers (HCW), nor does it have a definition of HCW that you can automatically apply to a particular standard.
The CDC has been warning us for the past three years to be prepared for “when” not “if,” and the “when” is closing in on us very quickly this week.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a public health emergency for swine influenza A (H1N1) viruses. The WHO has moved to a worldwide phase 4 pandemic alert. At a Phase 6 we would be at a full blown pandemic characterized by outbreaks in at least 2 regions of the world.
Q: Where can I find the OSHA regulation prohibiting artificial nails in healthcare?
A: OSHA does not have a standard referencing artificial nails for healthcare workers, but the CDC has guidelines.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few days— and maybe you are starting to wish you did—you have probably been locked on to the CDC Web site or the World Health Organization (WHO) Web site for swine flu updates. However, since you’ve had such a bombardment of info over the last two days, we’ve tried to condense the relevant resources and statistics.
For one day a year at least, this day, April 28, Workers Memorial Day, move beyond the usually dry and impersonal language of safety standards and training advice, and allow poetry to inform you on the deeply personal matter of not wanting to see any worker hurt or injured.
With early reports of swine-flu-related deaths in Mexico and 20 confirmed U.S. cases in five states as of Sunday, the CDC has issued a number of interim guidances for healthcare providers, including one on respirator use.
A report released by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) recently claimed that America’s healthcare facilities are not prepared to protect their employees during a pandemic flu outbreak. Of the 104 facilities surveyed, one-third said they had no written plan in place for a pandemic, and 43% of respondents said that because of the lack of readiness, they thought most or some of their co-workers would stay home during a pandemic.
Without this workforce, the already unpredictable nature of a pandemic could be much worse. But who could blame them? After all, there is no reason healthcare workers should have to risk their own health to do their job.
Do you think your facility has enough precautions in place?
A complaint from a patient or employee at your healthcare facility is all it takes to signal a potential problem with indoor air quality (IAQ).
First, try to obtain specific information. Be precise about the incident’s time and location. Investigate whether it is an isolated or recurring event. Is it noticed mainly by patients, employees, or both?
A safety officer was perplexed. What to do with a student nurse, new to the organization, who objected to a two-step baseline tuberculin skin test (TST), which the organization required under its OSHA policy?
She had a TST less than a year ago—it was negative—so why do another? Furthermore, her physician asked to see the OSHA documentation that required the two-step TST.
Of course the safety officer couldn’t find it.
Although it’s easy to point to the recession as the culprit for many of our problems, in the healthcare system or otherwise, there is one direct link to that may not become fully evident for a few more years.