Archive for: April, 2009

Ask the expert: OSHA standards and volunteers

By: April 23rd, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: Concerning the bloodborne pathogens standard, is an organization required to provide the same education and vaccines to volunteers as it does to employees?

A: Volunteers are not usually covered under OSHA.

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Top-ten list of OSHA interpretation letters

By: April 22nd, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Another David whose last name also begins with an “L” has made a pretty good living with top-ten lists. So I’m giving you my top-ten list of OSHA interpretation letters to help resolve disputes about compliance with the bloodborne pathogens standard.

I find interpretation letters helpful in answering OSHA questions because they usually get at specific situations, whereas the standard is written too broadly to answer those “show-me-where-OSHA-says” challenges.

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Infection control considerations for box fans

By: April 22nd, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Last week fellow blogger Terry Jo Gile brought up some safety precautions to consider when using air conditioners.

But one reader in particular wondered if using box fans would be in violation of safety or IC practices.

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Ask the expert: Sinks in exam rooms

By: April 21st, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

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.

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Doc’s penchant for doing laundry not an OSHA violation, but hold the starch

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

Doctors insistent on having it their way in a practice is nothing new, but did you ever hear of a doctor who wants to launder her patients’ examination gowns?

A Medical Environment Update subscriber asked if home laundering of patient exam gowns was an OSHA violation. It seems that an OB/GYN, who is an employee of the practice, so strongly objects to the paper exam gowns routinely used—she is concerned about the comfort factor—that she wants the practice to provide cloth gowns. To defray any cost-prohibitive objections, she will launder the gowns herself, at home.

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Weekly Poll: New OSHA head

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

President Obama recently appointed Jordan Barab, a “no-hold-barred” safety adviser, as acting head of OSHA. Barab’s seemingly stringent approach to safety regulation could mean significant changes… or maybe the bureaucracy of Washington will be too much for him.

What do you think of the new OSHA head?


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Keeping employees cool and comfortable

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

For many of us it looks as though the winter months are beginning to dissipate into glimpses of spring weather. Soon we’ll be cranking up the AC and begging for a break from the heat.

Which brings up an interesting point regarding air conditioners in the lab.

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Our own “Mac-blogger” has a new book out

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

Congratulations to OSHA Healthcare Advisor blogger Steve MacArthur on the publication of his new book, The Hospital Safety Director’s Handbook. If you enjoy reading Steve’s OSHA Healthcare Advisor posts, you’ll find the information in his new book to be an essential safety resource.

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Ask the expert: TB respiratory protection plan

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

Q: Must I have a respiratory protection plan for our medical practice? We have never seen nor expect to see a TB patient.

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Infection scares in Chicago, Boston

By: April 15th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Last week patients in New Jersey fell victim to unsafe IC practices, this week reports surfaced in Chicago and Boston that patients were exposed to other serious infections.

In Chicago, a Northwestern University doctor-in-training may have exposed hundreds to TB, including infants. The 26-year-old student was diagnosed at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, although she was working at three different hospitals – Northwestern, Children’s Memorial, and Evanston – when she contracted the disease.

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Obama appoints no-holds-barred Barab as OSHA chief

By: April 14th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

After years of spewing forth against President Bush and his OSHA minions for laissez faire regulatory activity, Jordan Barab is going to Washington to run OSHA, if only on an interim basis.

Actually, Barab has been in Washington for the past two years as senior labor policy advisor for Health and Safety on the House Education and Labor Committee,  but prior to that he blogged frequently and passionately on his occupational health and safety Web site Confined Space.

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Healthcare workers safety association says: Protect our blood, backs and lungs

By: April 14th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

A year ago this month, the Association of Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare (AOHP) surveyed its members about what issues concerned them most, and bloodborne infections from needlesticks and sharps, injuries for handing and lifting patients, and protection from airborne diseases made the top three list.

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