Archive for: January, 2011

Save time with this tip on OSHA injury log posting exemptions

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

It comes up every year on the OSHA consultative hotline, so here is a time-saving tip for safety officers:

If your healthcare workplace is not a hospital or nursing care facility, there is a good chance you can ignore the February 1 recording/posting injuries requirement for the OSHA 300-A form summary of injuries.

Federal OSHA allows recordkeeping exemptions for certain low-risk businesses.

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Weekly Poll: Healthcare workers and antibacterial soap

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

Poll results released by the American Cleaning Institute and Personal Care Products Council found that most Americans would be angry if the government banned antibacterial soap because they found it to be an effective way to prevent the spread of germs.

With healthcare workers performing hand hygiene more than the average U.S. consumer, is there a concern in your workplace about the overuse of antimicrobial personal care products?.

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

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Enforcing outside the box: OSHA fines waste recycler for needlestick hazards

By: January 21st, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

Bloodborne pathogens violations aren’t just for healthcare facilities, as OSHA showed by imposing a hefty fine on a Texas recycler.

Inspectors issued Greenstar Mid-America LLC, San Antonio, 10 serious and 10 other-than-serious citations for $53,000 in proposed penalties, according the agency’s January 19 news release.

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Give us a sign!

By: January 20th, 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.

It’s important to clearly identify hazardous areas in in the lab with signs and physical barriers. The LSO, along with the facility’s overall management, should review and update the hazard identification system annually to ensure that it fully reflects the hazards known to be present. OSHA’s specifications for signage is contained in the HCS (29 CFR 1910.1200).

Standard signs for a laboratory include those for radioactivity hazards, biological hazards, and fire hazards. Additional signs must mark the locations of eyewash stations, safety showers, chemical spill kits, fire extinguishers, and exits. It is assumed these are permanent placements for these signs. However, on occasion, you will need to use a temporary sign when a hazard exists for a short period, such as when fume hoods or biosafety cabinets undergo inspection for certification and when formaldehyde is being used for cleaning. Once the risk has been eliminated, remove the temporary signs. Other guidelines include the following:

Standard facility safety signage. OSHA requires that some signs be color-coded:

  • Danger signs must must red, black, and white
  • Caution signs should be yellow and black
  • Safety instruction signs, such as those used to call attention to eyewashes and showers, should be green and white

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Cleaning industry poll: Yes, we still want antibacterial soap!

By: January 20th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

What do you use to wash your hands? A December poll released by the American Cleaning Institute and Personal Care Products Council found that most Americans who use antibacterial soaps consider it to be effective in preventing the spread of germs and would be angry if the government tried to ban them.

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And your new ICU roommate is?

By: January 19th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

No one. A study done by a research team from the McGill University Health Center (MUHC) in Montreal, Canada found that private rooms in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) reduced hospital acquired infections such as C-difficile, shortens the length of hospital stay, and saves money.

The researchers found that once the ICU rooms were privatized, the infection rate dropped about 50% for three bacteria types-MRSA, C-Difficile, and Enterococcus. Also, 10% of patients in the ICU reduced their length of stay when changing to a single bed room, reported Happy News. Dana Teltsch is the lead author of the study titled “Infection Acquisition Following Intensive Care Unit Room Privatization.”

These findings provide a basis of comparison of the savings versus the costs to the healthcare system on top of the health benefits to patients,” Teltsch said concerning the study.

The ICU rooms at the MUHC at Glen, Lachine, and Mountain campuses will now be single-patient rooms to avoid the spread of infection.

The study was published in the January issue of the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

How does your facility prevent the spread of infection in its ICU? Do you have a similar set-up? Let us know in our comment section.

Ask the expert: Needlestick referral and employee insurance

By: January 18th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: In the event of a needlestick, can our practice send an employee to his or her personal doctor and pay the co-pay or any other fees or do we have to send them to a doctor that the office has contacted with?

A: Always stay away from taking care of occupational bloodborne pathogen exposure expenses through an employee’s insurance. Services required by the Bloodborne Pathogens standard must be at no cost to the employee and OSHA does not consider an employee’s medical insurance to be at no cost. For a related interpretation, see Ask the expert: Vaccinations and out-of-pocket expenses.

As to referring your employee for postexposure management, OSHA requires that “the employer provide post-exposure evaluation and follow-up to employees for bloodborne pathogens, such as hepatitis C (HCV), as recommended by the CDC. The current CDC recommendations for HBV, HIV and HCV are found in the Updated U.S. Public Health Service Guidelines for the Management of Occupational Exposures to HBV, HCV, and HIV and Recommendations for Postexposure Prophylaxis in Vol 50, No. RR-11, published in the June 29, 2001 MMWR (Attached as Appendix E),” according to Enforcement Procedures for the Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens.

That is why it is best to contract with a facility that has expertise in occupational bloodborne pathogens exposures.

Could you ensure that by referring an employer to his/her personal physician that treatment will be given in accordance with USPHS recommendations? Too much uncertainty there, in my opinion.

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Weekly Poll: Do you provide slip, trip, fall prevention training?

By: January 17th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

Slips, trips and falls (STF) are “the second most common cause of lost-workday injuries in hospitals,” according to the NIOSH workbook, Slip, Trip, and Fall Prevention for Healthcare Workers. How seriously do you train to prevent STFs in your facility?

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

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Ask the expert: Generic MSDS

By: January 14th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: We changed to a different manufacturer for the purchase of isopropyl rubbing alcohol in our practice. Is it okay to use the old MSDS, or do we have to request a new one?

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A,B,C,D,E,F – Boom!

By: January 13th, 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.

Probably the most common chemical storage mistake is shelving chemicals in alphabetical order. It is temping to follow this method – any systematic arrangement, it would seem, is superior to random storage. However, by alphabetizing chemicals, you place yourself and your lab at risk for a fire, spill, or natural disaster. Here are a few situations in which the alphabet can spell t-r-o-u-b-l-e:

The ultimate safety policy is as simple as: “That’s disgusting!”

By: January 13th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

Fancy-schmantzy evidence-based protocols and detailed-minded risk assessments/evaluations may not be as important to workplace safety as the basic human reaction to avoiding things that are…well…just plain disgusting.

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Vital stats: Types of OSHA violations in healthcare facilities

By: January 12th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

Last year, OSHA issued 3,674 citations to healthcare facilities; the majority of those violations (62%) were characterized as serious. Serious violations are issued when death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew or should have known about the hazard.

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