Archive for: August, 2009

Weekly Poll: Sick leave policies

By: August 31st, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

When it comes to protecting employees from seasonal flu and influenza A H1N1 this winter, much of attention has focused on vaccinations and proper PPE, including whether to use N95s or surgical masks.

However adjusting sick leave policies to allow employees to stay home if they experience flu symptoms is quickly becoming a major part of healthcare pandemic plans. Federal guidance released this month urges employers to make appropriate adjustments in their employee policies to allow sick healthcare workers to feel comfortable staying home. The CDC also says workers should be sent home if they develop flu symptoms.

On the other hand, a recent survey by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee (CNA/NNOC) found that 65% of hospitals do not have guaranteed adequate sick leave.

Has your facility addressed this issue? Take our poll and let us know in the comments section below.

Read the rest of this entry »

Kennedy, a healthcare reform and safety champion

By: August 28th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

With the passing of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the American Nurses Association (ANA) issued a statement expressing their profound sadness at the loss of a true champion for healthcare reform.

The statement also called attention to Kennedy’s support for healthcare safety issues and in particular the Needlestick Prevention Act:

What was most remarkable about Senator Kennedy was that he always remembered people far removed from the world of power and influence. As an advocate of the Federal Needlestick Prevention Act, he took the time to personally phone a nurse who had contracted HIV through a needle stick injury, to let her know that the bill that would help protect nurses had passed and was on its way to be signed into law. This act of kindness and generosity of spirit was not an unusual occurrence.

The Senator’s “tireless work on what he called ‘the fight of his life,’ health care,” is where he leaves his greatest legacy, says the ANA.

Notes from the field: Do you a need a MSDS for Wite-Out?

By: August 28th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

As I was looking through the material safety data sheet (MSDS)  notebook in an office, I found one on distilled water, Wite-Out, and dishwasher soap. None of these substances are considered hazardous. If the product is available commercially to the general public and is used exactly as directed on the label, it does NOT need a MSDS. Substances such as bleach, chemotherapy drugs, some injectible drugs, and glutaraldehyde DO require MSDS.

Read the rest of this entry »

Survey of nurses says hospitals still unprepared for H1N1

By: August 27th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

You may have already seen this story on Stressed Out Nurses.com, or HealthLeaders Media, but its one that may interest safety and IC coordinators in particular.

A number of hospitals are still underprepared for an H1N1 pandemic that could flood hospitals this flu season, according a survey conducted by California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee (CNA/NNOC).

Read the rest of this entry »

What to do with plants in the lab

By: August 27th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: Our facilities manager is questioning if we should have plants in the lab.  They are not on the work bench and are away from any contaminated areas.  We have gone through many lab inspections without comments on this, but I would like to follow up on his concern.

A: It’s not uncommon to see plants throughout any medical facility, including the lab. They add to the atmosphere of your facility, and often provide a better experience for patients and workers.

Read the rest of this entry »

With a virtual safety officer, OSHA compliance assistance at your fingertips

By: August 27th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

OSHA compliance is no place for guesswork, especially when the safety of your coworkers is at stake.

David LaHoda, Medical Environment Update and OSHA Watch editor and OSHA expert, mans the Compliance Hotline, a key benefit for subscribers to these newsletters.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ask the expert: Using the Emergency Use Act to wriggle out of fit-testing

By: August 27th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: Since it is impossible for us to fit test the 200-plus providers in our clinics in time for the upcoming flu pandemic, could we supply them with N95 respirators and do away with the fit testing under the FDA’s Emergency Use Act?

A: It seems like your concern is more about finessing a regulation than in providing your employees with the best protection from influenza H1N1.

Read the rest of this entry »

Lawsuits expected after unsterilized equipment leads to cross contamination

By: August 26th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Last December the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Tennessee Health Care System located in Murfreesboro, TN, identified a problem with their endoscopy procedures. Officials at the medical center discovered that employees were sanitizing endoscopy equipment at the end of the day rather than after each patient as the manufacturer recommends.

Subsequently all VA facilities were asked to review their processes and to ensure they were in compliance with manufacturers instructions, at which point two more facilities were exposed in Augusta, GA and Miami.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share your OSHA horror story

By: August 25th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Do you have an OSHA “horror” story, maybe a cell phone accidentally dumped into a sharps container or a mercury-filled blood pressure unit pulled off the wall by a curious patient?

OSHA Healthcare advisor would like to hear about it.

Don’t worry, we’ll exercise discretion in identifying facilities and individuals in publishing the tale.

Click here to contact us through this blog site, give a brief description, and make sure to provide us with a way to connect with you.

Ask the expert: Safety devices and non-contaminated needles

By: August 25th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: When drawing up medication, must we use a safety needle if it is not to be used to administer to the patient?

A: Non-contaminated needles are not subject to the bloodborne pathogens standard, according to Enforcement Procedures for the Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens:

Read the rest of this entry »

Employers receive federal guidance on influenza threat

By: August 25th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

If your boss tended to treat you like Ferris Bueller when you called in sick in the past, times might be changing, at least during the upcoming flu season.

The puritan work ethic—toughing it out and reporting to work no matter how sick you are—should to take it on the chin this flu season to be replaced by commonsense workplace policies that limit the spread of seasonal and H1N1 influenza, says Department of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.

Read the rest of this entry »

Weekly Poll: Safe injection practices

By: August 24th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

With significant attention surrounding safe injection practices and the millions of flu shots that will be administered over the next few months, patients have a heightened awareness of safety measures during these injections.

Has a patient ever called you out during an injection, either because they were concerned for their own safety or because they recognized a worker’s safety issue? If you’ve had some unusual encounters, share your experience in the comments section below.

Read the rest of this entry »

Subscribe - Get blog updates via e-mail

  • test
  • HCPro Broadcast Events Calendar

hcpro.com