Archive for: July, 2010

Notes from the field: “Doctor, what is that in your hand?”

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

I was almost done with my mock OSHA inspection in an OB/GYN office, and the last section of my survey covered decontaminating and disinfection.

One of the physicians was leaving an exam room holding a metal vaginal speculum in a paper towel. I could not believe what I was seeing! Luckily I didn’t collide with him, but I saw him soon enough to follow up on my concern.

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Spanish translations added to OSHA respiratory protection Web page

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

For easier access OSHA has added direct links to Spanish translations of two documents on respirator use to its Respiratory Protection Safety and Health Topics page.

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IDSA calls out CDC to take a stand on mandatory flu vaccines

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

At least one organization has called out the CDC to take a strong stand in favor of mandatory influenza vaccination for healthcare workers.

In a letter to Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC, in response to feedback regarding updated flu guidelines, the Infectious Disease Society of America says the CDC needs to take a definitive stand on the issue in order to protect patients.

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Inspections reveal IC lapses in more than 75% of Illinois ASCs

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

After a recently published study revealed that two-thirds of ambulatory surgery centers (ASC) had deficiencies in infection control, a new report shows lapses are even more prevalent in the state of Illinois.

State reports show that nearly 76% (22 of 29) of ASCs inspected in the last year were cited for infection control problems, according to the Associated Press (AP).

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Healthcare workers caught between drugs that save and drugs that kill

By: July 20th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

That life-saving drugs for patients also pose life-threatening hazards for healthcare workers, was made painfully evident in a report by msnbc.com on chemotherapy’s deadly toll on pharmacists and nurses.

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U.S. healthcare worker safeguards not world class

By: July 20th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

It seems that in some places, the world has passed the U.S. by in protecting healthcare workers from toxic substance such as chemotherapy agents.

Canada, Holland, Germany, Austria, and Belgium specifically require safeguards for healthcare workers handling and administering chemotherapy drugs, reports The Seattle Times, July 11.

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Hospital slapped for with workplace violence citation

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

An inspection prompted by an employee complaint led to OSHA citing the Danbury (CT) Hospital “for failing to provide its employees with adequate safeguards against workplace violence,” according to an agency news release, July 16.

The investigation found several instances where workers were injured by act of violence from patients in the psychiatric, emergency, and general medical floors, reports OSHA.

Additionally, inspectors identified 25 instances during the past five years of employees losing work days or assigned to restricted duty due to attacks by patients.

Under the general duty clause, the agency fined the hospital $6,300. Danbury Hospital has 15 business days to respond to the citation.

“This citation points to the need for the hospital to develop a comprehensive, continuous and effective program that will proactively evaluate, identify, prevent and minimize situations and conditions that place workers in harm’s way,” said Marthe Kent, OSHA’s New England regional administrator.

According to the news release, the OSHA citation suggested that the hospital take the following measures:

  • Create a stand alone written violence prevention program for the entire hospital that includes a hazard/threat assessment, controls and prevention strategies, staff training and education, incident reporting and investigation, and periodic review of the program
  • Ensure that the program addresses specific actions employees should take in the event of an incident and proper reporting procedures
  • Ensure that security staff members trained to deal with aggressive behavior are readily and immediately available to render assistance
  • Ensure that all patients receiving a psychiatric consultation are screened for a potential history of violence
  • Use a system that flags a patient’s chart any time there is a history or act of violence and training staff to understand the system
  • Put in place administrative controls so that employees are not alone with potentially violent patients in the psychiatric ward

For resources on preventing workplace violence in healthcare settings, see the June issue of Medical Environment Update and related reports and checklists under the workplace violence heading on the Tools page.

Needlestick stories full of fear, anxiety, anger, and sometimes unhappy endings

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

While it is gratifying to read how the new president of American Nurse’s Association used a personal needlestick experience to become an advocate for sharps injury prevention while on her way to a leading role in her profession, I’m reminded that many times needlestick stories don’t have such positive endings.

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Needlestick prevention advocate leads ANA

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

The new president of the the American Nurse’s Association is a needlestick prevention advocate, one who can personally attest to feeling the sting of and dealing with the life-changing effects of an exposure to a contaminated needle.

Karen Daley, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, was elected president of the ANA last month, but her course to that position came as a result of a career-altering needlestick, reports nurse.com, July12.

While working in the ED in 1998, Daley experienced a sick while disposing a needle in a sharps container—the container was over full with a contaminated needle sticking out—according to the nurse.com story.

She contracted hepatitis C and HIV from the incident, and the physical effects of the infections and course of treatment caused her to leave patient care.

“I loved direct care and I loved emergency nursing. It totally took me off what I thought was a pretty clear career path in terms of my practice,” Daley told nurse.com.

As a result of her accident, Daley became active in the area of needlestick prevention advocacy and worked with the ANA for passage of the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act, accomplishments which “laid the groundwork for her to become the new president of the American Nurses Association,” according to the report.

Daley told nurse.com that working with the ANA on needlestick prevention revealed to her the power that organized advocacy can make, and she hopes to build on that experience in addressing the concerns of the nurse profession while leading the ANA.

Weekly poll: Spiking IV bags

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

Spiking IV bags is a contentious topic among healthcare professionals. On on had many facilities want to pre-spike bags well before administration to increase efficiency. On the other hand, some health experts have said bags should be spiked no more than an hour before administration.

What is your facilities policy? Take our poll below and let us know.

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Ask the expert: Do you need an MSDS for Wite-Out?

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

Q: When I look at my bottle of Wite-Out®, it states that it is flammable and that people should avoid prolonged skin contact and breathing vapors. This sounds to me like an MSDS is needed.

A: Consumer products used in accordance with the label are not generally considered under the hazard communication standard. In fact, an OSHA letter of interpretation specifically addresses office chemicals saying:

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Ask the expert: Safety sharps evaluation records

By: July 15th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: How long must I retain copies of the annual safety sharps evaluation?

A: You only need to retain the current year’s evaluation.

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