Archive for: January, 2013

How to evaluate safety sharps

By: January 28th, 2013 Email This Post Print This Post

You’ve had some complaints and a near miss, so you know you need to replace what you’re using but aren’t sure how to go about picking new safety sharps. First, you’ll need to get some products in-house to try out. Next, you’ll need to get together some staff members to evaluate them. Make sure to have staff members who aren’t supervisors and who will be using the product regularly on the selection board; not only does this make sense, OSHA requires it. Get some props (e.g., oranges, injection pads, etc.) to practice on. Finally, take out your pen, because (of course) we need to write all this down for our OSHA recordkeeping.

Make sure you have a sharps evaluation form for each device tested for each evaluator on  your team. Appendix D OSHA directive CPL 02-02-069 has forms you can print out and use; find them by doing a Web search for “CPL 02-02-069” and clicking on the link to Appendix D at the page returned by the search.

*This is an excerpt from The OSHA Training Handbook for Healthcare Facilities by Sarah E. Alholm, MAS.


Poll: Hand washing in healthcare settings

By: January 23rd, 2013 Email This Post Print This Post

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Reporting a patient fatality to OSHA

By: January 16th, 2013 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: We had a patient experience a fatal reaction to an injection. We understand we have to do an incident report for our risk management, but didn’t know whether we need to complete an OSHA incident form since it wasn’t a safety incident per se but rather an unexpected allergic reaction.

A: Since OSHA is only concerned with employee safety, you do not have to report a patient fatality to OSHA. However, since the fatality was associated with a drug (injection), voluntary reporting to the FDA under the MedWatch program does apply. A patient death is considered a “serious adverse reaction,” and the FDA states it should be reported. The report is made on form FDA 3500. It is voluntary to file this report, but I encourage you to do so, as the MedWatch is how the FDA tracks the safety of pharmaceutical products on the market. If the FDA were to get a number of reports on a particular lot of product, a recall could be initiated. For more information, see

*This is an excerpt from The OSHA Training Handbook for Healthcare Facilities by Sarah E. Alholm, MAS.

Adding “Negative Nellie” to the safety committee

By: January 9th, 2013 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: Our office’s “Negative Nellie” wants to be on the safety committee. I am sure she would see plenty of horribly dangerous issues. She seems to have problems with how everything else works, after all. She makes working toward change impossible. I’m afraid if I say no, she’ll bad-mouth safety to everyone. What can I do?

A: First, consider whether it makes sense for her to be on the committee based upon her job position. If it totally doesn’t make sense, explain to her nicely that you have a limited amount of space and really need clinical (or fill-in-the-blank) people on the committee. If it does make sense for her role to join the committee, work hard to make sure it doesn’t become a complaint venue. Set clear ground rules that emphasize finding solutions, not just listing problems. Work hard to make her feel heard and understood. Employees may get frustrated if they don’t feel their concerns are being taken seriously and call OSHA just to be heard. These types of calls are the top reason an inspector will come knocking at your door.

*This is an excerpt from The OSHA Training Handbook for Healthcare Facilities by Sarah E. Alholm, MAS.

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