Archive for: November, 2010

Spread of influenza caused by aerosol

By: November 30th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Forget the traditional belief that you can only catch influenza by being coughed on by someone or touching an infected surface. A new study in Hong Kong found that influenza was spread through aerosol transmission.

On April 4, 2008, seven patients in Chinese University of Hong Kong’s hospital had a fever and respiratory symptoms, which led to positive tests of influenza A, reported UPI.com. Nelson Lee, MD, of the Chinese University of Hong Kong observed the hospital’s outbreak and found it was caused by the transmission of aerosol at the facility. The study was published in the Clinical Infectious Diseases.

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Stomach bug spreads fast through nursing homes

By: November 30th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Norovirus, the viral infection that causes nausea, fever, and diarrhea has infected 129 residents in three nursing homes in Chicago.

Three nursing homes in McHenry County, Chicago, have reported outbreaks of the disease, according to the Chicago Sun Times. Chicago health officials said norovirus commonly spreads in nursing homes because of close quarters and weak immune systems.

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CDC: Healthcare worker meningitis infection points to infection control gaps

By: November 30th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Lack of communication and inadequate infection control practices probably contributed to the meningitis infection of healthcare worker and police officer last December in California.

“Occupational Transmission of Neisseria meningitides–2009” in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) November 19, 2010, examines the occupational transmission of N. meningitis and measures to control and prevent secondary transmission of it. “Breaches in infection control, notification delays, and lack of worker exposure assessment and postexposure chemoprophylaxis (PEP) likely contributed to secondary cases, according to the report.

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Website focuses on injecting safety into the world

By: November 30th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

If you are responsible for safety in healthcare facilities, you might want to check out SAFE IN COMMON, a newly launched online resource dedicated to raising awareness on global injection safety challenges.

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Weekly Poll: Automated external defibrillators

By: November 29th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

The FDA is looking to improve the performance of automated external defibrillators, or AEDs.

Is AED access and training part of the occupational safety and health program for your healthcare facility?

Click on the links below to take the OSHA Healthcare Advisor Weekly Poll and to see the results.

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Ask the expert: A doctor’s note won’t bypass OSHA compliance

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

Q: We are not allowed to drink beverages at the front desk to our dental practice because of OSHA’s rule about blood exposure. But some of us need to drink water frequently because of medical conditions. Can a doctor’s note get this OSHA rule changed for us?

A: Getting a note from your doctor to ignore Bloodborne Pathogens standard enforcement won’t help. It would be equivalent to having a note saying you don’t have to use safety needles or gloves when exposures are anticipated. Save the doctor’s note for mostly non-OSHA matters.

The first thing you need to ascertain is if the non-beverage policy at the front desk is indeed for OSHA reasons or is it an office/corporate policy for the sake of professional appearance. Often it is easier to blame OSHA as the boogeyman than to own up to the fact that a prohibition is due to internal policy. See “Ask the Expert—Don’t fall for all red flags.”

If the beverage ban turns out not to be an OSHA policy, then that is a different matter for you to negotiate. Now is the time to whip out your doctor’s note and solve the problem as an internal or human resources policy.

If not allowing beverages at the front desk is truly due to interpreting the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens standard, check if you employer is interpreting the standard correctly.

Section(d)(2)(ix) of the standard states: “Eating, drinking, smoking, applying cosmetics or lip balm, and handling contact lenses are prohibited in work areas where there is a reasonable likelihood of occupational exposure.”

You could question the person who administers your OSHA compliance whether the front desk area is a likely exposure area, and if not, designate it as such.

An OSHA letter of interpretation states: “The employer/practitioner is free to designate areas in which it is not reasonable to anticipate that occupational exposure will occur and to allow the consumption of food and beverage in those areas. OSHA will evaluate such designations on a case-by-case basis and anticipates that such areas will be separated from contaminated work areas.”

See “Ask the expert: Drinking on the job, sort of” for more information.

Dozens suspended after employees refuse flu shots

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

Imagine this ultimatum: Get a flu shot in two weeks or lose your job. What would you do? The employee flu shot saga strikes again, but this time in Pennsylvania.

The Abington Health System in Pennsylvania has suspended over four dozen employees without pay after they refused to get the flu shot, reported The Intelligencer.  The health system includes Abington Memorial Hospital and Lansdale Hospital, who are both among the 60 U.S. healthcare systems that require all employees to get the seasonal flu shot.

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Security guards not properly equipped with safety tools

By: November 23rd, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

A Seattle, WA hospital was fined after security guards stressed multiple times that they felt unsafe due to the lack of proper equipment needed to handle violent situations that may arise in the hospital.

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Ask the expert: If you have employees, you have OSHA oversight

By: November 23rd, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Q:  The administrator at our not-for-profit long-term care facility (LTC) says that it is not regulated by OSHA. I find that hard to believe. Is there a link you can direct me to so that I can politely set her straight?

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Weekly Poll: Hospital bans magazines from waiting rooms to avoid infection

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

A hospital in Toronto removed  magazines from the waiting room in order to prevent the spread of infection.

Do you think other healthcare facilities should follow this example?

Click on the links below to take the OSHA Healthcare Advisor Weekly Poll and to see the results.

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Film festival raises awareness on infection control

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

Film festivals aren’t always a place to scope out the hottest celebrities or enter a silly movie you and your friends made. They can also be a place for knowledge and awareness.

The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) is accepting submissions for the 2011 APIC Film Festival in Baltimore, MD with the theme being infection prevention and control.

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Ask the expert: OK, we don’t remove regular dirty needles, but what about safety needles?

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

Q: The question arose at my place of employment as to whether or not last week’s “Pardon my exclamation, but DON’T REMOVE DIRTY NEEDLES!” applies if one is using safety needles. Is it acceptable to remove such needles from the syringe, especially to save space in the sharps container?

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