Archive for: March, 2010

OSHA chief: Let’s get real about fines

By: March 22nd, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Looks like OSHA fines have been a bargain, given that they haven’t increased in 40 years.

That may be a cynical take on occupational safety and health concerns, but it was one piece of information Assistant Secretary of Labor David Michaels provided in testimony last week before the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections in support of the Protecting America’s Workers Act (PAWA).

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Indiana workplaces under the gun to change firearms policy

By: March 22nd, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

A new Indiana law allowing guns in company parking lots will have many workplaces rewriting workplace violence prevention policies about allowing firearms on company property.

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Ask the expert: OSHA, volunteers, and immunizations

By: March 22nd, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: What are OSHA requirements for immunizations and titers for hospital volunteers? They have no direct patient contact and are not in high risk areas. We offer hepatitis B and seasonal flu vaccination to them. Are we required to provide MMR and varicella if their status is unknown.

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Weekly Poll: Firearms in the parking lot

By: March 22nd, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

A new law in Indiana will allow employees to have weapons in the company parking lot as long as they remain out of sight and locked in the vehicle, according to Human Resource News. The new law will take affect July 1.

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Notes from the field: You have never had a tuberculin skin test?

By: March 19th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

During one of my annual OSHA training classes, I asked if everyone had a tuberculin skin test (TST) in the past year or when they were hired. The response was unanimous. No one had EVER had a TST.

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Ask the expert: Lab fridge foe

By: March 19th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: Co-workers have petitioned the medical director to allow an employee food and drink refrigerator in the lab area. I think this is a bad idea, but I don’t have any references to back me up. Can you help?

A: The OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens  standard clearly prohibits food and drink in restricted areas. The relevant sections of the standard are:

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Ask the expert: Computer or paper for your MSDS?

By: March 18th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: Is it okay to have material safety data sheet (MSDS) computer files instead of paper files?

A: If employees can obtain MSDS information while in the work area, computer MSDS files meet the accessibility requirements, according to an OSHA fact sheet concerning the hazard communication standard.

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Instruct employees to speak up if they see a hazard

By: March 18th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Employees must be encouraged to point out any safety hazard to the appropriate personnel so that it can be addressed immediately, particularly when moving into a new or renovated facility.

Employees play a key role in discovering and controlling hazards that may develop when they move to a new or renovated facility. It is important, however, that when they report a hazard, they are able to do so in a way that is respectful of their comfort levels and of the nature of the problem. OSHA encourages facilities to establish multiple ways to report hazards. An effective reporting system should encompass the following:

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Don’t overlook environmental services, transporters during infection prevention

By: March 17th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

After a recent study published in The Archives of Internal Medicine indicated that sepsis and pneumonia killed 48,000 patients and added $8.1 billion to healthcare costs in 2006, a press release from TeleTracking Technologies reminds healthcare facilities that doctors and nurses aren’t the only carriers of dangerous pathogens.

Environmental services workers and patient transporters can harbor infections, particularly without proper training or notification regarding precautions and specific infection control measures. Because these employees go from room to room, they are an ideal carrier for pathogens.

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AORN weighs in on laundering surgical scrubs in-house

By: March 17th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

There aren’t many workplaces that would debate how employees should wash their clothes, but where healthcare workers launder their scrubs has been a point of contention for the last few years.

A session at the 57th annual Association for periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) Congress on Monday, AORN representatives introduced 10 recommendations for surgical scrubs, expanded from seven.

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New campaign highlights ASC awareness

By: March 16th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

The Ambulatory Surgery Center Advocacy Committee (ASCAC) launched a new campaign his week for “Advancing Surgical Care,” which highlights some of the advantages specialized facilities have in an outpatient setting.

“As an industry, we are committed to providing patients the highest quality care in the safest environment possible and are working with physicians, hospitals and other stakeholders throughout the health care system to ensure that we continue to advance surgical care,” said Andrew Hayek, chair of the Ambulatory Surgery Center Advocacy Committee and president and chief executive officer of Surgical Care Affiliates in a press release.

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Colorado considers bills to protect patients from surgery tech abuses

By: March 16th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

On the heels if two court sentences for Colorado healthcare workers stealing pain medicine and the additional sentence of infecting patients with hepatitis C in one case, state legislators are considering bills aiming to prevent a repeat of the incident that caused the notification of more than 6,000 patients to be tested for bloodborne disease infections, according to The Denver Post.

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