Archive for: March, 2012

Study finds only low levels of MRSA ambulances

By: March 30th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Chicago-area ambulances are relative free of contaminated surfaces that could cause staph infections to patients, according to a study appearing in the April issue of the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC).

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Ask the expert: Who is qualified to instruct in bloodborne pathogens training?

By: March 29th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: What qualifications or certifications does OSHA require for conducting annual training for bloodborne pathogens hazards, and may a medical practice do its own training if qualified?

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Reducing bloodstream infections in an outpatient hemodialysis centers

By: March 27th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Outpatient dialysis centers can significantly reduce the incidence of vascular access-related bloodstream infections (BSIs) using collaborative interventions, and introducing social and behavioral change processes according to the CDC.

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Study records operating room staff observations on double gloving

By: March 27th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Healthcare providers observed blood on their hands after surgery more frequently when they wore a single pair of gloves than when they wore two pairs of gloves and generally had a favorable opinion on double gloving, according to a study by the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN).

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Weekly poll: Training time for HazCom 2012

By: March 26th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Changes to the Hazard Communication standard, which incorporate the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, requires employers to train workers by December 2013. Is this enough time to train workers to the changes in the standard?  Take the OSHA Healthcare Advisor Weekly Poll and let us know.

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Ask the expert: Chest x-ray frequency with positive TB test

By: March 23rd, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: How often should a staff member in a doctor’s office with a positive tuberculin skin test be required to have a chest x-ray?

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Safety officer tip: Play it safe with the general duty clause

By: March 22nd, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Sometimes there will be a danger in the workplace that OSHA hasn’t drafted a particular standard to address. This is the case with hazards such as MRSA, TB, ergonomics, and workplace violence. However, some states address such issues through their state laws (e.g., New York law covers workplace violence). In situations like this, OSHA can enforce language in the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 USC 654), section 5, commonly referred to as the general duty clause:

Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.

Because OSHA standards are laws and have to undergo the congressional review process, a hazard that is relatively new might take time to go through drafting and approval. Sometimes OSHA considers the already-published safety guidance from agencies like NIOSH to be sufficient and will choose not to waste resources reinventing the wheel. Still other times, OSHA opts to provide safety information using guidelines, fact sheets, and other published materials that it treats as standards.

Remember, if an agency like the CDC has stated that a particular hazard exists in the medical workplace, you will be hard-pressed to prove to OSHA that the hazard wasn’t recognized. That’s why it’s best to take a conservative approach and follow published recommendations as if they are required.

Source: Excerpted from HCPro’s OSHA Training Handbook for Healthcare Facilities.

OSHA announces amended Hazard Communication standard

By: March 21st, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

OSHA’s changes to the Hazard Communication standard will improve safety by making it easier for workers to understand the threat that hazardous chemicals present in the workplace.

“Exposure to hazardous chemicals is one of the most serious dangers facing American workers today,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis at a March 20 news conference. “Revising OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard will improve the quality, consistency and clarity of hazard information that workers receive, making it safer for workers to do their jobs and easier for employers to stay competitive in the global marketplace.”

The change aligns the standard with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals which, according to OSHA, should reduce confusion about chemical hazards in the workplace, facilitate safety training, and improve understanding of hazards, especially for low literacy workers. The GHS also classifies chemicals according to their health and physical hazards, and establishes consistent labels and safety data sheets for all chemicals made in the United States and imported from abroad.

“OSHA’s 1983 Hazard Communication Standard gave workers the right to know. As one participant expressed during our rulemaking process, this update will give them the right to understand, as well,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.

The final rule revising the standard is available at, and complete implementation of HazCom 2012, as it is informally known, is expected by 2016. Employers have until December 2013 to train employees to the systems new requirements.

Take the guesswork out of complying with the newly modified OSHA Hazard Communication standard and PPE requirements in your healthcare facility

Changes to the OSHA Hazard Communication standard through adoption of the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for classifying and labeling chemicals, and the new Enforcement Guidance for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in General Industry are two of the most significant changes from OSHA this year. Now, available on demand is HCPro’s HazCom/GHS and PPE Enforcement: Understanding the New Requirements for OSHA Compliance in Healthcare, a 90-minute audio program where healthcare industry experts will tell you how these changes affect your workplace, provide a timeline for implementation, and offer tools to help you train your staff.

Board certification goes hand in hand with lower MRSA rates

By: March 20th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Acute care hospitals have lower rates of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bloodstream infections when having a board certified infection prevention director, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Columbia University School of Nursing.

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Study: Blood exposures risky with IV catheters

By: March 19th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

For nurses, working with IV catheters poses a significant risk for blood exposures, yet most incidents go unreported.

A study, by the International Healthcare Worker Safety Center at the University of Virginia, finds that half of nurses experience blood exposures on skin, mucous membranes, or eyes at least once a month when inserting a peripheral IV catheter.

Healthcare workers place more than 300 million short peripheral intravenous catheters every year in the United States, and the study reports that nurses are at risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens in 128 of 100,000 IV catheter insertions, compared to the more commonly recognized risk of exposure from needlestick injury with non-safety catheters at 6.6 per 100,000 devices.

Furthermore, the majority of IV catheter insertion exposures go unreported. Of the total mucous membrane exposures sustained by respondents in this study, 69% were not reported. In comparison, the CDC’s underreporting rate for sharps injuries is 57%.

Almost nine in 10 of those nurses who did not report the incident said they did not think the exposure was significant enough to report; more than one third said they were too busy, and 9% said they were concerned about others’ perceptions.

Janine Jagger, PhD, MPH, lead author of the study and director of the International Healthcare Workers Safety Center, says she was surprised by not only the frequency of blood exposure during both insertion and removal of IV catheters, but that the risk of exposure was about equal during both insertion and removal.

The study, “Blood exposure risk during peripheral I.V. catheter insertion and removal,” appeared in Nursing 2001 and is available for viewing on the BD website.

Weekly poll: Staff safety training and education

By: March 19th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

What percentage of your job do you spend on staff safety training and education? Take the OSHA Healthcare Advisor Weekly Poll and let us know.

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Ask the expert: Blood exposure and eyewash station checks

By: March 16th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: We have no corrosive chemicals in our work area that would require an emergency eyewash station under Medical Services and First Aid, 1910.151(c), but we have the units for blood splashes to the eyes. Can we dispense with the weekly testing?

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