Archive for: December, 2009

Top 10 OSHA Healthcare Advisor blog posts of 2009

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

I thought it’d be interesting to take a look back through 2009, the first full year of OSHA Healthcare Advisor, and see which blog posts garnered the most page views. Half of the posts concerned flu and H1N1. Not surprising as CNN dubbed that topic along with healthcare reform as dominating medical news for 2009. Also, three of the favorite posts took lighthearted views on topics. Maybe this shows how important humor is to the healthcare safety and infection control professions.

Here’s the list, along with comments.

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OSHA as repo man

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

A few moths ago I wrote a post reminding readers about OSHA’s responsibility as the federal agency for whistleblower protection. As a coincidental punctuation to that note, OSHA posted a December 29 news release about seizing the vehicle of a company official for not abiding by a whistleblower ruling.

Though not related to healthcare workplaces, it shows that OSHA’s reach can extend into your driveway.

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Nevada, CDC release final report on Vegas hepatitis C outbreak

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

Delivering an early Christmas gift, Nevada health officials released the long-awaited report that details the inner workings of the Las Vegas colonoscopy clinic that was at the center of the largest healthcare facility related hepatitis C outbreak in the history of the United States.

Officials from the CDC and the Nevada State Health Division Bureau of Licensure and Certification found that “unsafe injection practices were identified that placed patients at risk for exposure to bloodborne pathogens,” according to the report. All told there were 63,000 possible patient exposures, nine cases of hepatitis C were linked to the incident and an addition 106 were possibly linked.

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What is the optimal instrument cleaning procedure between patients?

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

Q: What are the best options for instrument cleaning for our outpatient hand clinic? We see a variety of infections on a consistent basis and perform debridement frequently as well. What is the optimal method for instrument cleaning between patients: Use of an instrument soak, disposable instruments, or use of an autoclave after each use or after a specified period of time with soaking in between patients?

A: Any reusable instrument that comes in contact with open tissue or blood must be sterilized between patient usages. Sterilization can be done many ways such as the ones you noted: by use of steam sterilization (autoclave) or with a chemical soak. All of these methods are appropriate as long as you:

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Not so home-sweet-home healthcare

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

NIOSH is about to publish a study examining the risks of job-related violence for home healthcare workers.

As the baby boomer generation ages, “a safe, trained, secure, and motivated home healthcare work force will be essential for efficient and high-quality healthcare delivery,” according to NIOSH.

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Cleaning up a spill

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

Environmental services employees can be crucial to the well-being of your patients and your staff. Here is a tip on spill clean-ups  as appearing in a recent issue of Medical Environment Update.

Despite all possible precautions, there is no way to prevent all spills. Accidents happen, and even with the best of intentions, a healthcare worker is bound to slip, trip, or fall. The crucial part is how you handle the aftermath of the incident. Below are steps you should take to clean up a spill:

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Weekly poll: Are you over the H1N1 hurdle?

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

As widespread H1N1 activity declines in the United States it seems the initial few months of pandemic panic has subsided, for now at least.

Health officials still warn that because of the holidays, cases of H1N1 could climb back up in the next few months.

What do you think? Is your facility over the H1N1 hurdle? Do you think 2010 will see a new resurgence of H1N1 cases? Take our poll below.

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The dos and don’ts of safety discipline

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

Safety officers in healthcare facilities need a plan when confronting employees who ignore OSHA regulations. Here is a list of the dos and don’ts of safety discipline as appearing in the December issue of Medical Environment Update.

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Medical Environment Update—Safety discipline: Successfully approaching violators

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

Safety officers need a plan when confronting employees who ignore OSHA regulations.

That is the feature topic in the December issue of Medical Environment Update, which specifically looks as common OSHA violations, taking a tactical approach to correct them, and initiating disciplinary action. The feature also provides useful tips on the dos and dont’s of safety discipline and if an when OSHA will let you off the hook when you have an employee who just won’t follow the rules.

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

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Reading between the lines of state and federal requirements for H1N1

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

Depending on the state your facility is located in and the shortage of N95s in that region, safety officers may find themselves reading between the lines to achieve OSHA compliance.

For example, in response to the CDC guidelines, the Ohio Department of Health released guidance that calls for surgical masks for protection against H1N1 and N95 respirators for aerosol-generating procedures.

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FDA releases approved alternatives for STERIS System 1

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

As promised, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a list of FDA-cleared alternatives to the STERIS System 1 (SS1) device processing system.

Once again, the FDA recommends each facility identify which devices they currently reprocess using the SS1, review the manufacturer’s instructions for each device, review relevant guidance from the CDC, select a reprocessing device, and contact the manufacturer to ensure that device is compatible with your equipment.

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H1N1 numbers dip, but pandemic report finds holes

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

Two months ago most infection preventionists and safety officers were doing all they could to stay on top of H1N1 news, guidelines, and recommendations.

But in the midst of traditional flu season, it seems panic behind H1N1 is beginning to calm. Last week the CDC reported further decline in H1N1 cases, as the number of states reporting widespread infection dropped to 11, and 20 states reported regional influenza activity.

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