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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