Archive for: February, 2010
If you catch yourself saying, “Oh, my aching back” during the year, you are in good company. Surveys by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) show 50% of working-age adults will experience low back pain symptoms annually. In North America, 60–90% of adults will experience an acute episode of low back pain at least once in their lifetimes.
The weight limit for safe lifting is usually no more than 50 lbs. per person. This may vary depending on the age and stature of the person doing the lifting.
The price tag for back injuries can reach over $100 billion. (Yes, that’s with a “b”). Helping employees avoid the trauma and expense of low back injuries is the purpose of the ACOEM Labor Day Checklist. Here is my version of that checklist:
Unfortunately pandemics aren’t just reserved for larger hospitals. This year, more than ever, many physicians realized their important role in managing the threat of pandemic influenza.
To reinforce that point, the CDC has released an “Abbreviated Pandemic Influenza Plan Template for Primary Care Provider Offices: Guidance from Stakeholders.” But this isn’t your typical convoluted, lengthy guidance. It’s a 12-page template created by physicians, office managers, hospitals, local and state public health departments, and local and state emergency management agencies to help physician offices quickly and effectively prepare for pandemic influenza now, or in the future. The CDC plans to release a more robust Pandemic Influenza Organizer in the spring.
Imagine a medical facility without the sounds of running water, absent of the smell of soap, and void of any hand sanitizer dispensers. One would think that might wreak havoc on a facility’s hand hygiene compliance.
But the future of hand hygiene might say otherwise, according to The New York Times. (Credit the assist to our sister site Patient Safety Monitor Blog picking it up first).
For those readers who frequent the Tools page of the OSHA Healthcare Advisor for free downloads, here is some welcome, time-saving news.
Now you don’t have to register each and every time you want to access the Tools page, which contains more than 70 OSHA- and infection control-related checklists, sample policies, forms, and special reports.
Q: Most co-workers say to squeeze blood immediately from the needlestick site after injury. Now another person says that squeezing blood may suction bloodborne diseases into the system. What does OSHA say?
A: The OSHA bloodborne pathogens standard does not specifically address first aid for the needlestick injury site, but the agency’s Bloodborne Pathogens and Needlestick Prevention Web page says to “immediately flood the exposed area with water and clean any wound with soap and water or a skin disinfectant if available.”
Like unwanted guests, once you invite unsafe needlestick safety practices into your workplace, they may to tough to get rid of, and ultimately increase the chance of one of your workers getting stuck.
With areas like Dallas and Washington D.C. experiencing some winter weather that’s usually found in the northern regions of the country, many medical facilities may be searching for their winter weather emergency action plans.
Snow storms can bring in additional patients due to car accidents, or various other disasters. Medical facilities may also need to deal with power outages due to heavy snow. Some emergency action plans may require community planning and preparedness in order to deal with the aftereffects of a particularly strong storm. If your looking for more information on effective community planning using HSEEP guidelines, check out our March 25th webcast.
Does your facility have an emergency action plan for winter weather?
Q: In place of disposable N95s my organization is looking into purchasing full face N95 respirators for each of our acute care locations to eliminate the need to annually fit test all our acute care staff. Will this solve the fit-testing problem?
Often hand sanitizers are placed throughout the lab. In one facility I once found a pile of empty boxes blocking access to one of them. People will only use the sanitizers if they are convenient and accessible.
The sanitizer dispensers should be located about 5 ft. off the floor in a convenient location and accessible to those who need to use them.
Q: Our hospital is stating that drinks at desks are not allowed ANYWHERE in the facility. My question revolves around the business offices where there is no risk of occupational exposure. Does OSHA have a ruling on that?
A: Wow, anywhere in the hospital sounds a bit extreme.
Managing healthcare workers with a bloodborne disease can be a perilous situation for any manager or employer, and with no specific regulatory guidance, each case needs to be evaluated carefully.
In some instances work restrictions may be necessary to ensure patient safety. In other instances healthcare workers may have duties that do not put them at risk to transmit diseases.
Although the CDC and Nevada have seemingly closed the case on the largest healthcare facility associated hepatitis C outbreak that was linked to the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada, that doesn’t mean it’s closed in the courtroom.
The Las Vegas Sun reported on Monday that the Las Vegas facility may not be the only party to blame. Attorneys representing patients of the endoscopy center say a sworn deposition from an executive of the drug company that makes propofol – the drug that was administered to patients – could prove that company is partially to blame.