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Medical Environment Update—Environmental services: Prevent infections and ensure safety

Environmental services employees can be crucial to the well-being of your patients and your staff. That is the feature story in the November issue of Medical Environment Update [1], which specifically looks as training contract workers, developing policies and procedures, establishing day-to-day cleaning procedures, along with tips on identifying  high-touch surfaces, cleaning up a spill, and the bleach vs. disinfectant decision. [2]

Here is an excerpt from that article and a look at what else is covered in November issue.

Even with initiatives such as hand hygiene awareness, respiratory etiquette, and standard and contact precautions hoarding much of the infection control spotlight, environmental cleaning and disinfection have emerged as primary infection prevention sources.

As organisms such as MRSA and C. diff have become an increasing concern for hospitals and outpatient care facilities, environmental services employees have evolved into a critical sector of infection control and worker safety.

“There is this understanding and acceptance and recognition and respect that environmental services technicians are the front line of infection prevention,” says Patti Costello, executive director of the American Society of Healthcare Environmental Services (ASHES). “You’re only as good as your weakest link, so the better your training, the better your communication with infection control, and the better the relationship between environmental services and the infection control professional, the stronger your environmental services program is going to be.”

However, their increased importance in preventing infections means more training requirements for infection control policies and OSHA compliance.

The Medical Environment Update [1] November issue also includes:

To help illustrate that point,
Medical Environment Update
has collected a sampling of stories
describing situations that contend
with OSHA and employee safety
regulations. These extreme but
true tales will make even a novice
safety officer cringe.