Archive for: April, 2011

Products aren’t preventing MRSA, FDA warns

By: April 22nd, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers not to believe the claims of hand sanitizer and antiseptic products that promote MRSA prevention, and has since sent warning letters to four distribution companies about their unproven claims.

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Fire Safety (Part III): Keeping staff informed

By: April 21st, 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.

Although not common in laboratories, fire risks do exist within a laboratory’s walls. Fires can occur due to electrical malfunctions, hot surfaces, compressed gases, and flammable chemicals. Proper maintenance and continuing surveillance of the laboratory through a safety program can reduce these hazards. A complete and balanced approach to fire prevention and rapid response addresses the following topics:

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CDC report finds one-third of hospitals not ready for major disasters

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

A CDC report found that nearly one-third of hospitals are not prepared for mass casualty disasters and epidemics such as influenza.

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Napa State Hospital fined for not adhering to own policies

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

Napa State Hospital in Napa, CA, was slapped with a $100,000 fine by California regulators after hospital administrators admitted they knew patients who were allowed to walk freely around the facility had histories of drug taking, stalking, and aggressive behavior.

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ASHE and APIC hope you haven’t washed your hands of hands-free faucets yet

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

Based on last week’s report from Johns Hopkins concerning hands-free faucets and how they carry more bacteria than manual faucets,  the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) and the Association for Professionals in Infection Control & Epidemiology (APIC) have released a joint statement.

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State passes first law protecting healthcare workers from hazardous drug exposures

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

Washington Governor Chris Gregoire on April 13 signed into law two bills to protect healthcare workers from hazardous drug exposures and to track occupational cancer links from such exposures, reports InvestigateWest.

The two safety laws are the first in the nation to specifically address protection for workers handling chemotherapy and other toxic drugs, and could be a model for other state and federal legislation, Bill Borwegen, health and safety director for the Service Employees International Union in Washington, D.C., told InvestigateWest.

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CDC sets guidelines for lab competencies

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

The CDC and the Association of Public Health Laboratories issued Guidelines for Biosafety Laboratory Competency on April 15.

The guidelines identify the essential skills, knowledge, and abilities required for working with biologic agents at the three highest biosafety levels, 2, 3, and 4. The guidelines also address tiered competencies based on three levels of worker experience: entry level, midlevel (experienced), and senior level (supervisory or managerial positions), according to the document’s summary.

The guidelines are intended for lab staff working “with hazardous biologic agents, obtained from either samples or specimens that are maintained and manipulated in clinical, environmental, public health, academic, and research laboratories,” according the guidelines.

The guidelines identify competencies based on four skill domains: potential hazards, hazard controls, administrative controls, and emergency response and preparedness, and categorized by levels of experience. See Appendix B.

Ask the expert: Hepatitis B vaccination titer and worker insurance

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

Q: We don’t have hepatitis B vaccination (HBV) titer documentation for an employee. May I have the titer paid through employee health insurance or must the practice pay for it?

A: It is never a good idea to charge any employee, even through his or her health insurance, for OSHA-related costs.

OSHA’s Enforcement Procedures for the Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens states: “The employer may not permit the employee to use his or her healthcare insurance to pay for the series unless the employer pays all of the cost of the health insurance and unless there is no cost to the employee in the form of deductibles, co-payments, or other expenses.” The document explains that partial employee contribution to insurance could penalize the worker in the form of higher insurance premiums that violate the “no cost to the employee” language of the bloodborne pathogens standard. The same reasoning applies to using a spouse’s or family member’s insurance.

As to drawing a HBV titer long after the vaccinations series, CDC experts don’t recommend it, according to “Hepatitis B and the healthcare worker” by the Immunization Action Coalition.

If an exposure should occur, follow the postexposure guidelines given in the recommendations for postexposure prophylaxis  Table 1. Recommendations for postexposure prophylaxis after percutaneous or mucosal exposure to HBV in an occupational setting, which is from the U.S Public Health Service guidelines. This table is also included in the HCPro OSHA Program Manual.

Get into compliance with HCPro’s Basic OSHA Compliance Manual Kits for medical or dental practices. Receive bimonthly electronic manual updates through your newsletter subscription that keep your regulatory manual up to date and in compliance!

Complimentary live demo of HCPro’s Patient Safety Monitor

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

HCPro will be hosting a complimentary live demo of Patient Safety Monitor on April 26! Patient Safety Monitor is one-stop shop for patient safety needs, including a blog, a library of tools, forms, policies, and checklists, a monthly newsletter providing quality improvement case studies and news from the field, weekly news e-mails, an e-mail listserv to post questions and share tools with your patient safety peers, and most importantly, the Crosswalk, which organizes CMS, Joint Commission, and state patient safety regulations.

For example, if you work in Massachusetts and would like to find all the regulations you need to know about patient identification, we can easily provide that information all in one spot.

Sign up for the free webcast here and receive a complimentary issue of Patient Safety Monitor Journal.

If you have any questions about Patient Safety Monitor or the live demonstration, feel free to contact Managing Editor Tami Swartz at It’s a great resource for any readers of the blog, and hope you’ll attend on April 26.

New Jersey ASCs cited for IC violations

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

The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services found violations in ambulatory surgical centers (ASC), some pertaining to infection control.

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Weekly Poll: Would your facility pass an infection control inspection?

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

A report was released by the New Jersey Department of Health looked at 91 Ambulatory Surgical Centers and Surgical Practices from 2009-2010, and found 49 of them to be noncompliant to participate in Medicare. If a state health department inspector appeared at your facility today, could you pass inspection? Take our OSHA Healthcare Advisor Weekly Poll and let us know.

After taking the survey, click here for results.

MRSA infection rates drop at VA hospitals after four-year effort

By: April 15th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

In a four-year effort to reduce MRSA rates at Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals, a study published in April’s New England Journal of Medicine found a 62% decrease of the bacterial infection in intensive care units (ICU).

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