Archive for: January, 2011

Notes from the field: Have you done your annual sharps evaluation?

By: January 31st, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

The year is still new enough for another resolution or two, so be sure you commit to completing all of your required OSHA paperwork.

During my mock OSHA inspections, one area where I usually find deficiencies is the lack of an annual sharps evaluation. OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens standard (section [c][1][iv][B]) requires that once a year, clinical staff members need to evaluate the sharps used in the office.

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OSHA cites Maine hospital for workplace violence problems

By: January 31st, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

Acadia Hospital in Bangor, ME, received a citation from OSHA for allegedly not providing adequate safeguards for employees from violent patients and visitors, according to a January 28 OSHA news release.

The $6,300 proposed fine under the general duty clause is the result of an investigation conducted by OSHA in July 2010 as a response to worker complaints. The investigation found 115 instances during a two-year period in which workers were assaulted by violent patients of the psychiatric hospital and its clinics, according to OSHA.

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

The citation suggests several ways for Acadia Hospital to address its workplace violence problems including:

  • Creating a stand-alone written violence prevention program for the entire hospital
  • Developing workplace violence prevention administrative and engineering controls
  • Screening all patients for potential violence prior to hospital admission
  • Conducting extensive training for employees
  • Using 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
  • Minimizing instances where employees work alone or in secluded places with patients
  • Limiting employees from working alone or in secluded places with patients and configuring the workplace to maximize an employee’s ability to escape in the event of violence
  • Developing specific procedures for employees to reports violent workplace events

The investigation yielded $5,400 in fines for six other-than-serious citations for incomplete reporting of workplace illnesses and injuries, according to OSHA.

For more on resources, go to the workplace violence prevention heading on the Tools page of the OSHA Healthcare Advisor.

Protect your staff and patients from violence in the emergency department. Violence in healthcare—like the recent incident at Johns Hopkins Hospital—is on the rise. Join HCPro for Violence in the ED: Proven Strategies to Keep Your Facility Safe, a 90-minute on-demand Webcast where you’ll learn a five-step approach to keeping your staff and patients safe. Our experienced speakers will also guide you through regulatory requirements related to workplace violence and provide action plans to train staff to handle unruly patients and prevent dangerous situations.

Best practices for thorough cleaning that will reduce HAIs

By: January 31st, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

Hospital studies have found only 25% to 40% of surfaces near patients meet the definition of cleanliness. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention has issued guidelines calling for increased performance in cleaning effectiveness to prevent healthcare-acquired infections.

Cintas Corp. released a January 26 press release with a list of six cleaning best practices that will help reduce healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs).

The company worked with the International Executive Housekeepers Association to create a list of best practices:

• Cultivate an environment of partnership
• Benchmark cleaning products and processes
• Conduct time audits
• Provide thorough employee training
• Recognize and empower cleaning personnel
• Measure cleaning performance on an ongoing basis

Click here for more details about each best practice recommendation.

How does your facility’s practices compare to those listed above? Let us know in our comment section.

Weekly Poll: The Big Brother approach to hand hygiene

By: January 31st, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

A new hand hygiene monitoring system lights a badge on the healthcare worker’s lab coat and alerts the nurses’ station when sensors detect noncompliance.

How comfortable are you with healthcare facilities taking a Big Brother approach to hand hygiene compliance?

Take the OSHA Healthcare Advisor Weekly Poll and let us know.

After taking the survey, click here for results.

Webcasts offer information on Steris System 1E

By: January 31st, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

Remember last year the confusion over the FDA recall of the Steris System 1 units and the transition to the System 1E (“FDA advises some Steris customers to change disinfection and sterilization methods” and “FDA approves alternative to STERIS System 1”)?

Customers still seem to have questions about whether the unit is a sterilizer and if biological indicators for have been approved.

If you have not been notified by Steris, the company is providing live webcasts on Monday, January 31 at 2 p.m. ET and Tuesday February 1 at 10 a.m. ET.

Click here to register for the webcasts.

An OSHA fire safety quick guide

By: January 28th, 2011 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.

Since fire safety requires close involvement with staff members, OSHA has a number of requirements in order to protect employees. The following are a few important fire safety considerations:

  • Be sure to have the correct fire extinguisher for the expected fire. There are four classes of extinguishers, but most commonly, facilities will use Class A, B, or C fire extinguishers.
  • Locate extinguishers in the proper place. OSHA requires that they are accessible within 75 ft. of an employee, so one every 150 ft. will meet requirements.
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New online resource offers information on CLABSIs

By: January 28th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) has launched a website to be used as a tool by healthcare workers, offering education and questions and answers about preventing central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs).

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Ask the expert: Gloves and blood draws

By: January 27th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: Does OSHA mandate that disposable gloves are required for blood draws? If so, where is the reference?

A: Gloves are required for employees doing blood draws.

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How to catch a doctor … dirty handed

By: January 26th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

Big brother is watching doctors, nurses, and any caregivers who don’t wash their hands before interacting with patients. Caregivers wear a special badge on their lab coats or scrubs, which turns a dark shade of red if components in the doors, soap dispensers, and near beds signal that healthcare providers have not followed proper hand hygiene.

The University of Massachusetts Medical School teamed up with Elke Rundensteiner, a computer science professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, MA, to design a system to monitor healthcare workers on their hand-washing protocols, reports The Worcester Telegram & Gazette. The system will be piloted in the next month and will monitor healthcare workers in patient rooms in intensive care units.

When the technology tracks healthcare workers not washing their hands, the badge turns red and data is instantly relayed to the nurses station and other computers, some of which are at WPI. Rundensteiner observes patterns and can send out emails or instant messages to alert someone to watch healthcare workers who aren’t washing their hands.

Do you think this is an effective way to help workers comply with hand hygiene policies, or does it smack of a “gotcha!” approach? Let us know in our comment section.

California hospitals strive to improve infection rates

By: January 25th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

One may be the loneliest number, but zero is the greatest number. All 42 elevators inside Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA, are strewn with posters that say “Zero is the Greatest Number” in an effort to lower the hospitals infection rates to zero.

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State considers law to protect workers from chemotherapy hazards

By: January 24th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

Washington state legislators will introduce a bill affording healthcare workers greater protection from chemotherapy hazards, reports The Seattle Times, January 16.

The proposed bill would create an occupational-safety standard for oncology clinics and other settings where chemotherapy is delivered. A related bill would mandate that the state’s cancer registry captures occupational data from cancer patients, according to the Times.

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Gas cylinder suspected in dental lab explosion

By: January 24th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

An explosion in a dental laboratory that injured 12 British workers is a reminder to be vigilant in lab safety, especially in the use and storage of compressed gas.

The explosion that ripped through a Staffordshire dental lab on January 21 Friday caused considerable damage and concern according to the BBC: doors and windows lasted out, three women were taken to hospital; a nearby school was put on alert were alerted to the explosion by text message.

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