Ask the expert: Sinks in exam rooms
Q: Are there any OSHA regulations that speak to the need for a sink to be in every exam room in an office practice setting?
A: A sink is not required in every exam room, but hand hygiene facilities must be readily available. This usually means having a hand sanitizing dispenser in the room.
Remember, the bloodborne pathogens standard requires hand washing with soap and water after removing gloves that have come in contact with blood or OPIM. If you have an exam room where you perform procedures resulting in this type of hazard, you should either have a sink in the room or make it possible for the healthcare provider to progress from an immediately-available hand sanitizer to a sink in close proximity, according to “Acceptable use of antiseptic-hand cleansers for bloodborne pathogen decontamination and as an appropriate hand washing practice,” a March 31, 2003 OSHA interpretation letter.
This is an example of a simple work practice control that you can incorporate into your bloodborne pathogens training
An administrative control would be to assign your sink-less exam rooms to procedures with low potential for exposure and reserve your in-sink exam rooms for more exposure-prone procedures.
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