Archive for: June, 2012
A study appearing in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology looks at how and why healthcare workers in non-hospital settings differ in their acceptance of influenza vaccination, and in particular the vaccination for H1N1.
Usually the only fireworks that one equates with workplace safety is of the interpersonal type, but with Independence Day coming up, OSHA reminds employers, employees, and regular consumers of the danger inherent in fireworks displays, both public and private.
Q: Are emergency eyewash stations required for blood exposures to the eyes?
A: There is a fine technical debate among healthcare safety officers as to whether OSHA’s Medical Services and First Aid standard (1910.151[c]) applies to blood splashes to the eyes. And the answer is: Maybe.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reiterated that healthcare organizations will be cited for using single-dose/single-use vials on multiple patients except when the medications are repackaged into smaller doses by following the standards of the United States Pharmacopeia (USP).
Q: If an employee agrees to the hepatitis B the vaccination but fails to follow through on the titer one to two months after the series, what should I do for OSHA compliance?
One of the recommendations that the American Industrial Hygiene Association made to OSHA was to increase fines to put them more in line with other regulatory agencies, and cites state and federal environmental violations as examples. Do you believe that OSHA fines are too lenient, especially when compared to fines imposed by environmental regulatory agencies? Take the OSHA Healthcare Advisor Weekly Poll and let us know.
The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) has released a white paper which highlights the emerging roles and issues facing OSHA.
“Perspective on the Role of OSHA in Advancing Occupational Safety and Health for the Nation” makes 17 recommendations addressing OSHAs current approach and opportunities for improved effectiveness in key areas enumerated in the agency’s strategic plan and the 2011–2016 strategic plan, including f the Department of Labor (DOL), including the modification of OSHA penalties.
AIHA calls the current maximum penalty structure—$70,000 per violation for willful or repeat violations, $7,000 per day for failure to abate hazards, and $7,000 per violation for other violations—”woefully inadequate” compared to fines from other regulatory agencies. For example, employer fines for breaking environmental laws can be as high as $25,000 a day. Also, OSHA’s maximum criminal penalty for a willful violation leading to the death of a worker is six months compared to 15 years in jail for the serious violation of environmental laws.
“AIHA supports amending OSHA criminal penalties so that they are at least as stringent as penalties for violations of environmental laws.” according to the white paper.
Other recommendations include:
- Having primary authority for all safety and health issues in workplaces that the agency regulates
- Reforming the standard-setting process
- Applying standards to all workers, including municipal, state and federal
- Promoting occupational safety and health programs for small and medium-sized employers
- The continuation of the general duty clause to enforce employer responsibility to provide safe and healthful working conditions.
- Updating the Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs)
Electronic medical records now play a major role in investigating infectious disease outbreaks and other threats to public health.
“By combing through the data now received almost continuously from hospitals and other medical facilities, some health departments are spotting and combating outbreaks with unprecedented speed, reports The New York Times, June 18.
At a rate of 18%, nurses are twice as likely to experience depression as the general public, according to a study published recently in the journal Clinical Nurse Specialist.
A small cluster of unusual illnesses at a Colorado children’s hospital prompted an investigation that quickly identified alcohol prep pads contaminated with Bacillus cereus bacteria, according to a report in the July issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. The investigation also led to an international recall of the specific brand of alcohol prep pads involved.
Preventing infections in dialysis settings is the topic of a new online course offered by the CDC.
The CDC designed the course for outpatient hemodialysis healthcare workers, including technicians and nurses, to ensure that CDC infection prevention recommendations are implemented.
The National Safety Council (NSC) reminds that week 3 of June National Safety Month is Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls (STF) week.
Here is a list of the Council’s STF tips to share with your co-workers.