Archive for: November, 2010

Study: Gloves most important in C. diff infection control

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

Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, have discovered that by using personal protective equipment (PPE), specifically gloves, workers can help eliminate hospital acquired infections while handling patients infected with Clostridium difficile infection (CDI).

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Lab coat Q&A: Will it all come out in the wash?

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

The answer to the following is adapted from the Complete Guide to Laboratory Safety, Third Edition, by Terry Jo Gile. To purchase this book, click here.

Q: I am a dentist and currently use a lab coat laundry service.  The cost (for about 8 coats per week), however, is quite high. I would like to consider doing it myself at home.   Assuming that I am washing them separately, using hot water, bleach, etc., is there an OSHA guideline that prohibits this?

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External defibrillators in the healthcare setting

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

On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that the design for external defibrillators will improve through a program to promote safe defibrillators.

External defibrillators are life saving devices used when people suffer from cardiac arrest, though according to The Los Angeles Times, they don’t always work properly.

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Violence adds to workers’ hazards in nursing homes and psychiatric units

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

The Pump Handle: A water cooler for the public health crowd, published a good, succinct post on healthcare workplace violence in “Violence Against Healthcare Workers in Nursing Homes and Psychiatric Hospitals.”

Citing a NIOSH survey of nursing home workers, The Pump Handle reminds that “34% of nursing assistants reported experiencing physical injuries from residents’ aggression.”

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Physicians and bloodborne pathogens training

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

If you were not able to access the full article from the October Medical Environment Update on the challenges of training physicians with regard to OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens standard, much of that article appeared in HealthLeaders, October 26.

Here is an excerpt:

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Hepatitis B outbreak in assisted living facility caused by unsafe blood monitoring device use

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

A Hepatitis B outbreak in early October that killed five residents at a Mount Olive, NC, assisted living facility was found to be caused by unsafe blood glucose monitoring practices.

According to wnct.com, after investigating, the State Health Department found a drawer full of glucometers stored together on the medication cart without clearly identifying the name of residents. An interview with a medication technician found that the devices were not cleaned and disinfected properly between uses.

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Washington state hospitals lead in worker flu immunizations

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

With 94 of Washington state’s 98 hospitals having adopted policies requiring workers to get immunized for influenza, it appears that the state is leading all other states in efforts to protect patients from the flu.

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Weekly poll: OSHA and resident physicians’ hours

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

Both sides have stated their cases on whether OSHA should look into the amount of hours that resident training programs require physicians to work: Public Citizen and other advocacy groups want OSHA regulation while the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education wants the agency to keep its distance.

Are the hours that resident physicians work a valid concern for OSHA?

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

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No more reading in the hospital waiting room—stare at the wall and don’t touch a thing

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

What do you do in a hospital waiting room? Staring at the algae covered fish tank gets boring after a while so you switch to watching the baby run around in nothing but a diaper, which can only hold your attention so long. But to your left is a giant basket full of magazines: People, Woman’s Day, National Geographic, and Health. Jackpot.

Flipping through magazines usually makes time fly by as you wait, but in a recent article published by CBC News in Canada, one hospital is banning magazines in waiting rooms to avoid the spread of germs.

Toronto’s Women’s College Hospital is in the spotlight. Michael Gardam is the director of infection prevention and control for Toronto’s University Health Network and favors the banning of magazines.

“If you’ve got somebody who’s in isolation because they’ve got C. difficile or some other super bug, and they’re reading that magazine, you don’t really want to put that back on the rack for another person,” he said to CBC News.

Gardam also questioned the disinfecting of magazines, pointing out that there is no easy way to do it, said CBC News.

How about toys in the waiting room for children? OSHA Healthcare Advisor published a post pertaining to guidelines for keeping toys in a waiting room.

Waiting rooms aren’t the only area scrutinized for infection control. Check out the physician practice infection control checklist on the Tools page.

Is the hospital being too strict in taking away the magazines that help pass the time in waiting rooms ? What sort of actions can healthcare settings take to avoid the spread of infectious disease? Let us know in the comment section below.

Infection Control Manual for the Physician’s Office. Learn how to stop an outbreak before it spreads. Primary care physicians will be on the front lines to detect, treat and manage an infectious disease outbreak when it hits. Understand how infection control (IC) applies to the ambulatory process and the steps physicians and their staff should take to protect patients, staff from the spread of infectious diseases.

Punching out: Residency group wants feds to keep away from physicians’ time cards

By: November 12th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

The organization that evaluates and accredits U.S. medical residency programs wants OSHA to keep its regulatory mitts off the issue of work hours for residents.

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Will OSHA let me off the hook?

By: November 11th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

The following is an excerpt from the Complete Guide to Laboratory Safety, Third Edition, by Terry Jo Gile. To purchase this book, click here.

There is always the chance that you’ll run into an LSO’s worst nightmare: employees who disregard safety procedures despite disciplinary action, consultation, and evident risks to themselves and those around them.

Fortunately, OSHA does provide a small amount of leeway in this area, but only with the proper documentation. OSHA will not fine or cite employees, but the regulator may waive a fine if the facility proves it was an isolated incident of unpreventable employee misconduct. To waive a fine, you’ll need to establish the following:

  • A thorough safety program, including work rules, training, and equipment designed to prevent violation

Documentation: A written safety and health program such as the Exposure Control Plan and the PPE section of the Bloodborne Pathogens Policy

Ask the expert: Pardon my exclamation, but DON’T REMOVE DIRTY NEEDLES!

By: November 11th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: It has been standard procedure in our small medical practice to remove contaminated needles from the syringes to save space in the sharps container. I am concerned that this will significantly increase my potential risk of a “dirty” stick. Is this a legal practice? What can I do to reduce my risks, without losing my job?

A: This is absolutely illegal. Let me put it another way…THIS IS ABSOLUTELY ILLEGAL!

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