Archive for: May, 2010

Weekly poll: Is your facility OSHA compliant right now?

By: May 31st, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

What if an OSHA inspector were to walk into your facility today? Are you confident everything in your facility is compliant? Is there any nagging issue that you would be concerned about throughout the inspection?

Most likely OSHA isn’t showing up at your place today, but play along with our hypothetical poll question and think about how your facility would fair during and instantaneous OSHA inspection. Let us know what you would be concerned about in the comments section below.

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Ask the expert: Keeping the lid on won’t placate OSHA

By: May 28th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: I know that some facilities allow beverages at nurses stations if there is a lid on the cup. To me, there is no difference between drinking from the rim of a cup vs. a little hole on top of the cup. Is this still and OSHA violation?

A: OSHA does not generally forbid consumption of beverages at nursing stations, except when blood, OPIM, or toxic substances are present.

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Sharps disposal containers: Access vs. security

By: May 28th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Fellow HCPro blogger Steve MacArthur, safety consultant for The Greeley Company, does a great job of analyzing sharps disposal container design and placement in light of The Joint Commission (TJC) survey process, proving that, for some healthcare facilities, OSHA is not the only oversight watchdog to worry about.

The situation involves weighing the worker-safety merits of providing unimpeded access to a sharps container with TJC requirement of having secured waste storage in a cardiac vascular lab.

For an example of some clear-cut thinking, that might also get you out of a regulatory bind, read “Even sharps containers can benefit from a risk assessment” on Mac’s Safety Space.

Mandatory flu shots work for award-winning PA hospital

By: May 27th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

The Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania (CHOP) received the Healthcare Personnel Campaign award for immunization excellence by the National Influenza Vaccine Summit (NIVS).

The awards presented during the NIVS Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona, May 18, recognized “the value and extraordinary contributions of individuals and organizations towards improved adult, and/or childhood influenza vaccination rates within their communities during the 2009-2010 influenza season,” according to a NIVS news release.

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British study shows C. diff can travel through the air

By: May 27th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Typically Clostridium difficile (C. diff) has been a multidrug resistant organism associated with high surface contamination. Although some have speculated that C. diff spores could spread through the air, few have been able to prove that risk is present.

A study released yesterday in Clinical Infectious Diseases, by a group of researchers from the United Kingdom, suggests that, “aerosolization of C. difficile occurs commonly but sporadically in patients with symptomatic [C. diff infections],” which would also explain why C. diff has become increasingly more common in medical facilities, even surpassing MRSA in some regions.

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TB precautions for volunteers, students, and contract workers

By: May 26th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: What kind of TB precautions should we take for non-employees, such as volunteers, students, contract workers, and contract construction workers who perform services in our hospital? For example, is it necessary to require a TB skin test for all these categories, and would the hospital have to provide it free of charge?

A: Although OSHA guidelines only apply to employer-employee relationships, from an infection control standpoint it comes down to common sense. Anyone who regularly “breathes” in your facility – including students, volunteers – are at the same risk as your own employees and therefore should be managed as such. These healthcare workers should at least have a skin test upon entering service in your facility. That test can be conducted by healthcare facility, or by the contracted service, school, or program.

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Stressed out nurses invite heart attacks

By: May 26th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

The Leader’s Lounge, an HCPro blog from Strategies For Nurse Managers.com recently posted about The New York Times piece on the ill effects of workplace stress.

Of particular interest was the statistic that nurses struggling with excessive work pressure have double the risk for a heart attack.

Read more about the research behind this assertion here and take the opportunity to become familiar with Strategies For Nurse Managers.com, which provides nursing-specific management and leadership content, news, and downloadable tools.

Don’t just educate but also test the effectiveness of your safety program

By: May 25th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Providing safety education is only half the job. The other half is making sure people understand what they have been taught and then put into practice. But how do you measure this?

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Yes, OSHA standards also apply to teens and summer work

By: May 25th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

With teens starting summer jobs right now, OSHA reminds employers that workplace hazards standards apply to this workforce too.

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Weekly poll: Bloodborne Pathogens review

By: May 24th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Last week’s post reported that OSHA had opened the public comment period as part of its review of the Bloodborne Pathogens standard, required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act Review. OSHA would like to hear from healthcare facilities about exposure risks, particularly in non-hospital settings, as well as any new technology that is available.

Do you expect that any subsequent changes to the standard will make OSHA compliance easier or more difficult for you? Take our poll and let us know.

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Five more short OSHA Q&As

By: May 24th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

If you are into brevity, meaning the 140 characters and spaces imposed by Twitter,  here are additional OSHA-related questions and answers on titers, waivers and recordkeeping.

Q: Is a titer required after the hepatitis B vaccination?

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Notes from the field: You don’t have staff vaccination records?

By: May 21st, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Recently as I was finishing a mock OSHA Inspection, I asked to see the staff vaccination records. The manager looked at me as if I had just asked the most ridiculous question. She had no idea that she was “required” by OSHA to document her employees’ hepatitis B vaccinations.

The manager stated, “I always ask everyone if they had those B shots.”

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