Archive for: October, 2009

Notes from the field: A caller just said there is a suspicious package at the back door!

By: October 30th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Believe it or not, healthcare facilities are not exempt from bomb threats. Recently, an office told me what had happened in their practice several weeks ago.

The practice had received some pediatric immunizations in a white Styrofoam box. At the end of the day that box was thrown in the dumpster. A few days later, the Receptionist answered the phone to hear a muffled voice say there was a bomb at the back door. The caller said he would “get Dr._____________” for not listening to him when he was in the office.

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Fast-track guide to H1N1 OSHA compliance

By: October 29th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

The H1N1 Preparedness–Lessons Learned & Successful Strategies webinar presented by Premier, Inc. on October 28 excellently distilled CDC and OSHA compliance issues for protecting workers from H1N1.

The key is to customize your policy while staying within CDC recommendations and OSHA regulations. Sure that takes more time and effort, but it gives you more flexibility, for compliance.

I have found that so much angst about not having N95 respirators and not being able to fit test and train employees to use them is because healthcare facilities have jumped to the personal protective equipment (PPE) option without working through the hierarchy of controls and prioritization of PPE.

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If you think the coffee in your office is bad…

By: October 29th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Harvard University Medical School locked down its New Research Building on Sunday, according to the Boston Herald.

The reason? Coffee.

In particular coffee that was consumed two months ago by six scientists and students that used a communal single-serve coffee machine. The machine tested positive for a chemical substance known as sodium azide, after all six workers began to feel dizzy and one even passed out, according to an internal memo. Sodium azide is commonly found in labs.

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Less stress means fewer accidents in the lab

By: October 29th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Are some employees just accident prone? Is there a way to assess personality traits related to the propensity for getting into accidents? If you could identify such traits, could you generalize traits from one setting to another?

Although there is very little data on this subject, there is some. Samantha Dunn, in her book, Not by Accident: Reconstructing a Careless Life (Henry Holt, 2002), suggests that emotional states that lead to distraction can contribute to accidents. Anxiety, stress and depression are at the root of many accidents because they cloud judgments and slow reaction time.

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ANA nixes forced flu shots, except under special circumstances

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

Except for that nuisance of a line between theory and practice, the American Nurses Association (ANA) might support mandatory flu vaccinations for the profession.

Acknowledging H1N1 as a public health emergency, the ANA is “urging all registered nurses to get the H1N1 vaccine to protect themselves, their families, and the patients they serve,” according to an October 27 news release, yet it stops short of supporting mandatory flu shots.

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Hand hygiene fun and games

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

Back in May I wrote about a hand hygiene tag, a game created by employees at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). The idea was an interesting and well-received approach to hand hygiene compliance.

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Getting schooled: N95 and surgical mask 101

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

With all the hubbub concerning whether to use N95 respirators or surgical/procedure masks for H1N1 protection, NIOSH posted a nice piece on the history, development, and effectiveness of these medical devices on its science blog.

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Notes from the field: Are you using Lysol to clean that counter?

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

When I do my mock OSHA inspections, I often see staff members using household products to clean their counter tops and exam tables. Lysol is an EPA registered disinfectant that kills more than 99% of illnesses causing bacteria and viruses on environmental surfaces in your home, not a medical facility.

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Weekly Poll: Patients or workers first?

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

On Friday New York Governor David A. Patterson announced that Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines would suspend the regulation mandating influenza vaccines for healthcare workers.

The state maintained that he decision had nothing to do with impending lawsuits, rather the shortage of H1N1 vaccines.

In a released statement Daines said the state had told hospitals that because the H1N1 vaccine is in short supply, its more important to vaccinate patients before healthcare workers.

Who do you think should get priority with the H1N1 vaccines?

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NY lifts required flu vaccinations for healthcare workers

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

New York Governor David A. Paterson announced Thursday evening that the State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D. has suspended the mandatory influenza vaccines for healthcare workers.

The rationale has more to do with a shortage of the H1N1 vaccine than the temporary restraining order that was handed down by a judge last week,  State Department of Health spokeswoman Claudia Hutton told the New York Times.

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Ask the expert: Voluntary use of N95 respirators

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

Q: A worker who is not exposed to H1N1 influenza patients wants to wear an N95 respirator. We are not opposed to this but wonder what we must do for OSHA compliance? Normally her duties would not require her to be part of our respiratory protection plan.

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H1N1 respirator vs. mask Xs and Os

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

Did your healthcare facility cover the spread on H1N1 respiratory protection? If not, your facility is probably scrambling to acquire N95 respirators and figuring out how to fit-test and educate employees on their use.

At the risk of delving into Monday-morning quarterbacking, did you really think the CDC was going to say it was OK to use surgical masks over the more highly-protective N95 respirators in protecting U.S. healthcare workers from H1N1 influenza? Apparently, others thought so, too.

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