Medical Environment Update—Annual sharps evaluation

By: April 5th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

The April issue of Medical Environment Update takes a close look at the OSHA compliance requirements for the annual review of safety sharps and obtaining worker input on device selection.

Here is an excerpt from that article:

The two sections of the Bloodborne Pathogens standard that make it unique among OSHA regulations also cause a lot of confusion with employers trying to stay in compliance.

Section 1910.1030(c)(1)(iv)(B) necessitates the annual consideration of safety devices when an employer has staff members who are potentially exposed to blood and OPIM, while section 1910.1030(c)(1)(v) requires feedback from nonmanagerial employees on safety device selection.

And many medical practices are clueless about to how to do this, says Kathy Rooker, safety officer and owner of Columbus Healthcare & Safety Consultants in Canal Winchester, OH.

Clueless in compliance
In the course of her mock OSHA inspections, Rooker finds many compliance shortcomings, especially with new clients.

“Practice owners may have purchased some safety devices years ago when they first heard about the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act, and maybe even use them, but they probably haven’t done anything to stay c ompliant since then,” says Rooker.

Either managers never learned about the annual updating as part of the exposure control plan, or they have conveniently forgotten it, says Rooker. Meanwhile, staff assume it’s okay for the nurse manager or head medical assistant to pick and choose what safety devices will be used in the practice. Employees don’t even know that OSHA wants them to have a say in safety device selection.

There are a lot of safety devices for a wide range of procedures that can eliminate or significantly reduce the potential for needlestick and sharps injuries, says Rooker, and safety device manufacturers and distributor representatives can help you sort out the selection process to keep your staff members safe and your practice in OSHA’s good graces.

The feature article includes:

  • A quick-start checklist for sharps evaluation compliance
  • Five common myths related to safety device and evaluation noncompliance
  • Sharps technology selection and evaluation resources

Also appearing in the April issue of Medical Environment Update:

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