Archive for: August, 2012

Ask the expert: Storing food and medications in the same fridge

By: August 31st, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: Is it OK to store food and medications, such as vaccines, in the same fridge?

A: It is not acceptable to store medications, including vaccines, in the same refrigerator. In fact, there should be a separate refrigerator for meds and for food, and each should be clearly labeled on the door as to the contents.

Also, as a reminder, eating, drinking, smoking, and the application of cosmetics should not be allowed in a laboratory or an area where medications are prepared, mixed,  etc.

–Kenneth S. Weinberg, BA, MSc, PhD, consultant in environmental health, safety, and toxicology; Safdoc Systems.
www.safdocsystems.com

See also:
Ask the expert: Food, specimens, and refrigerators

Ask the expert: Should biohazard bins be kept behind closed doors?

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

Q: We are based in Colorado. Do our red bins for biohazard waste need to be locked in a closet or if it is OK to keep them behind a closed door that is not necessarily locked?

A: There is no specific OSHA regulation that requires medical waste to be locked in a closet, and in looking at the Colorado state public health regulations, it appears that there is no specific requirement to keep medical waste in a locked closet on that count either. If there is a relationship with a local hospital, it may be worth checking with them to see if there is a specific requirement (if there is one anywhere, it would be in the state regulations as there are none at the national/federal level), but it looks like a closed door will suffice.

Now, I will complicate things just a little bit by saying that if you have clinic settings that provide care and services to at risk populations like pediatric and/or behavioral health patients, then you might be better off locking the closet to ensure their safety. It’s definitely a judgment call, but there are certainly instances in which erring on the side of caution is more than appropriate.

–Steve MacArthur

Steve MacArthur is a safety consultant for The Greeley Company, a division of HCPro. He brings 30 years of healthcare management and consulting experience to his work with hospitals, physician offices, and ambulatory care facilities across the country. He is the author of HCPro’s Hospital Safety Director’s Handbook and is contributing editor for Briefings on Hospital Safety.

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