Archive for: July, 2009

Weekly Poll: Blowing the whistle

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

When healthcare workers witness a potentially serious infection control or safety violation, it’s their duty to point it out the proper authority. But that’s not always as easy as it sounds. Employees might fear for their jobs or their careers if they they see a colleague making an egregious error.

After some of the unsafe injection practices that occurred in Nevada last year the state passed laws providing more protection to “whistle blowers,” but would you feel comfortable pointing out IC or safety problems in your facility?

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New Webinar series offers core infection control training

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

Image If the abbreviations MRSA, MDRO, and C. diff. are in your vocabulary, you may want to check out HCPro’s upcoming Webcast series on infection control training that starts next week.

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Beware of OSHA standards bearing exemptions

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

There is a good post on Mac’s Safety Space, a sister blog of the OSHA Healthcare Advisor, on why the material safety date sheet (MSDS) exemption for consumer products in the hazard communication standard is not the “get out of jail free” card that you think it is.

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The urine container disposal conundrum

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

Recently I received a number of emails from colleagues around the country regarding the disposal of urine containers.

This is a tricky topic because it really depends on the policy at your workplace. OSHA only requires that you dispose of urine containers in red bags if they are contaminated with blood.

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One Vegas doctor gets his license back, agrees to testify against others

By: July 8th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Last week brought some interesting developments to last year’s story about unsafe injections in Las Vegas that may be a little surprising to some.

Dr. Eladio Carrera, one of the doctors and a minority partner at the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada allegedly involved in the hepatitis C outbreak last February, will be served a $15,000 fine and two years of probation. Carrara will also get his medical license back immediately, according to a ruling by the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners.

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Notes From the field: No thank you, I am not that thirsty

By: July 7th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Recently I was in an office going over some safety issues. One of the staff members said she had a pot of coffee in their break room and asked if I would like a cup.

“Sure,” I said.

The nurse and I walked back to the break room. Sure enough the coffee was just about ready as it brewed in the coffee pot that was sitting next to the autoclave. There was also a towel laying on the sink with “cleaned” vaginal speculum awaiting a cycle in the autoclave.

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Weekly Poll: An OSHA MRSA standard

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

Two weeks ago Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) reintroduced a bill that would require medical facilities to screen test high risk patients for MRSA and report MRSA rates publicly. The bill would also require OSHA to develop a standard to protect healthcare workers and first responders from MRSA infections.

Do you think legislation is the correct way to protect workers? Should OSHA create a MRSA standard to protect healthcare workers?

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Medical Environment Update—Just-in-time fit testing offers quick, easy solution

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

The influenza outbreak this spring served as wake-up call for respiratory protection plans, reports the July issue of Medical Environment Update.

When influenza A H1N1, or swine flu, hit Mexico and subsequently the United States, there were two priorities for safety officers healthcare facilities:

  • Mitigate the spread of disease
  • Ensure protection of healthcare workers so they felt safe to come to work

For many facilities, that meant developing a way to quickly fit test employees for N95 respirators.

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Pass on the safety tips if you can’t take a pass on fireworks

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

It’s not typically an issue for healthcare workplaces, but the safety junkie in me would be remiss if I did not post a reminder about fireworks safety during Independence Day.

Each year, approximately 8,000 people, some of them children, seek hospital treatment for fireworks-related injuries, according the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission.

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How to choose fire extinguishers for your OR

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

Mac’s Safety Space, a sister blog of the OSHA Healthcare Advisor,  has posted some information that I thought might interest readers of this blog. It concerns using risk assessments to back up your choice of OR fire extinguishers.

Steve MacArthur, who occasionally posts in this space, makes a compelling case for using risk assessments to document thoughtful analysis of the conditions involved.

Check out the full blog post to learn why and how.

Yet another UCLA lab update

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

The investigation concerning a UCLA laboratory fire that resulted in the death of staff research associate Sheharbano (Sheri) Sangji in December continues to unfold, drawing in occupational safety, laboratory, and even legal ties.

Last month UCLA paid more than $31,000 in fines levied against them by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) and then appealed the state regulator’s findings. The appeal was intended to show that UCLA admits no fault in connection with the findings, according to Kevin Reed, vice chancellor for legal affairs at UCLA.

However on Friday UCLA pulled a 180 and decided to withdraw its appeal, according to the Los Angeles Times. Reed told the Times on Monday that the appeal was not worth the “hue and cry” it had raised from family members and the union that represents Sangji.

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IC tips on complying with CMS CfCs for ambulatory surgery centers

By: July 1st, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

It’s been just over a month since CMS officially implement its new CfCs for Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASC), but some people are still concerned about whether their facility is meeting the requirements. When I attended the APIC conference a few weeks ago I heard a number of people requesting guidance on this subject.

Below are a few suggestions that might help a new IP at an ASC:

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