OSHA ramping up inspections for southeast outpatient facilities

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

OSHA announced a regional emphasis program that will bring more OSHA inspections to outpatient facilities in four southeastern states, according to an April 25 OSHA Region 4 announcement.

The program will focus on reducing the number of needlestick and sharps injuries in ambulatory surgical care centers, freestanding emergency care clinics, and primary care medical clinics  in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Mississippi.

Under the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens standard, healthcare facilities are required to maintain an exposure control plan that includes keeping up to date on safety sharps technology, soliciting input from frontline workers on safety device selection, and recording circumstances and devices associated with needlestick injuries. No doubt these and other elements of the standard will be closely scrutinized in the Region 4 emphasis program inspections.

In 2006, OSHA’s Region 3, which includes Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia, conducted an emphasis program that substantially increased that number of inspections for ambulatory surgical centers, clinics, and physician offices, according to the April 2007 Medical Environment Update.

The current issue (April) of Medical Environment Update addresses needlestick safety compliance for the type of facilities that OSHA’s Region 4 has selected for the emphasis program.

The Region 4 emphasis program is will continue until September 30, 2012, unless it is extended, says OSHA.

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Are private physician offices required to utilize safety sharps technology, (eg. for routine immunizations, flu shots, etc.), or does the requirement apply only to healthcare facilities (eg. hospitals and nursing homes)?

By David LaHoda on November 16th, 2011 at 12:31 am

The answer is…yes. The Bloodborne Pathogens Standard applies to all businesses where employees are occupationally exposed to blood and OPIM.

For details and links to OSHA documents see:

See Ask the Expert—Safety needles in small healthcare facilities
Notes from the field: You haven’t switched to safety devices, YET!


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