Archive for: January, 2014

Clinic safety could take a fun lesson from the airlines

By: January 29th, 2014 Email This Post Print This Post

Safety is always a serious subject, especially in the airline industry, which has one of the best safety records in any industry but any lapses in safety and security could have disastrous results.

Still, anyone who has taken a trip on an airplane has undoubtedly tuned out the pre-flight safety lecture that flight attendants give about fastening your seat belts and grabbing your seat cushions if you go for a swim during your flight.

That’s why I am loving Delta’s new in-flight safety video which has been circulated this morning on social media. It’s a fun take on the usual safety video that gives a nod to the 80s, featuring multiple references to the decade including Alf, Atari, breakdancing, Teddy Ruxpin, and Devo.

It’s an era that I remember just a little bit too much, but the humor of it got me to watch it and take it seriously, especially when I watched Alf trying to put an oxygen mask on his snout. It just goes to show that safety can be fun as well as serious, and maybe it takes a little humor and a different approach to get people to pay attention to the same message.

Could the day of the white coat be coming to an end?

By: January 27th, 2014 Email This Post Print This Post

For years, the one thing that has symbolized the professional physician is the ubiquitous white coat. Patients and colleagues alike have come to regard it as the garment of choice that distinguishes a doctor among a sea of others in scrubs.

If the Society of Healthcare Epidemiology of America has any say, those days will change. The organization has issued new infection control recommendations that include getting rid of the white coats, which the group says could carry germs from patient to patient. The group also recommends doing away with neckties, wristwatches, and other pieces of attire that wouldn’t normally be disinfected after patient care.

The recommendations appear online in the February issue of the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

While health professionals that regard the white coats as a sign or professionalism are not likely to give up the white coats anytime soon, SHEA has said they would like to see a time when the coats are given up in favor of scrubs, or at least policies that would require physicians to launder and change the coats more often when they are seeing patients.

In the meantime, SHEA continues to suggest that healthcare professionals continue to practice good infection control habits such as regular hand washing, proper disinfection of patient care surfaces, and careful cleaning and disinfection of invasive devices.

What do you think?

AED in the healthcare workplace: liability or a legal defense?

By: January 22nd, 2014 Email This Post Print This Post

I received an interesting email from a reader this morning concerning Automatic External Defibrilators (AEDs), and their use in the healthcare workplace.

Basically, the reader (from an orthopedic surgery clinic) wanted to know if OSHA looks at the presence of an AED as a liability.

After doing some research at OSHA’s Web site ( it appears that OSHA does not have any specific standards governing their use, it definitely takes the stance that they are lifesaving devices with a proven track record of saving the lives of people who go into sudden cardiac arrest.

In my own experience as an EMT and a CPR/AED instructor, I can tell you that for each minute a victim goes without a defibrillator, their chance of survival goes down 10 percent. I can also tell you that a typical EMS response ranges from 5 to 7 minutes or longer depending on your location. Do the math.

While yes, those who are not familiar with the use of an AED are intimidated by the thought of shocking someone, they are in fact so lifesaving that it’s becoming more of a liability to NOT have one, and at less than $2,000 it’s worth the cost.

I hear stories all the time about lives saved at places like malls, fitness centers, medical clinics, and other places because someone acted quickly and knew how to use an AED.

If you work in a place where sudden cardiac arrests are more likely to occur, or where large groups of people congregate, you can bet this statistic will be pointed out in any potential lawsuits. I’d like to know your thoughts!

OSHA announces new Web resources for injury prevention

By: January 15th, 2014 Email This Post Print This Post

We’ve all heard the statistics by now: somewhere around 250,000 healthcare workers in hospitals are injured or get sick each year. About 60,000 of them have to miss work, and it all costs the healthcare industry about $2 billion in medical costs.

OSHA finally appears to be sick of hearing that alarming news and is doing something about it to help hospitals prevent workplace injuries and illnesses.

I just got off the phone from a teleconference with OSHA where Dr. David Michaels announced a new Web site ( dedicated exclusively to hospitals, the workplace hazards present, and how to make it a safer place.

On the site, safety folks can find a bunch of safety assessments you can use to compare your facility to others, and then click on all sorts of fact books, printable resources, and white papers about subjects ranging from safe patient handling, preventing slips and falls, and handling hazardous drugs.

Check it out and let me know your thoughts!




MEU focus group was a success!

By: January 9th, 2014 Email This Post Print This Post

I’d like to take a moment this morning to thank those who participated in our focus group Tuesday to discuss what they like about our newsletters and what we could do to bring better content to our readers in the future. It was a very lively discussion, and I thought very productive.

Among the things we discovered:

  • Our participants like and want “best practice articles” that will tell them how to better do their job. They want to know what their colleagues are doing, and they need standards references from regulatory agencies to back up their actions to other people when they ask “why?”
  • Blog posts and talk groups are very helpful – they’d like an outlet to be able to connect with others in the field to ask questions and get answers quickly.
  • They don’t really care for social media – forums on Facebook and Twitter, while fun, wouldn’t help them much – there’s no time in the day!
  • OSHA is a very important topic to them, and they want to hear more about what they are up to – especially in California.
  • “Quick Hit” articles such as Top Ten lists and statistics they can share with their employees and colleagues are important to them.
  • Our articles are being shared – when they see something they like, they get emailed to colleagues or used for training purposes.

As a relatively new editor here at HC Pro, I recognize that I have huge shoes to fill in the safety market to my readers. In the last 9 months alone, I have learned so much about what the folks in the clinic safety and hospital safety industries do, and it’s my pleasure to do the best I can to help you do your jobs better.

As always, I welcome reader input, and I welcome reader submissions for publication in the newsletters. Feel free to email me at anytime with comments, suggestions, and questions.

To learn more about our safety newsletters, Briefings in Hospital Safety and Medical Environment Update, visit the HC Pro Marketplace at

Thank you!

John Palmer

Managing Editor, Safety


OSHA extends recordkeeping comment deadline to March 8

By: January 8th, 2014 Email This Post Print This Post

OSHA has announced that it will extend a public comment period on a proposed new requirement that would change the way employers report injuries.

Significant requests from worker unions for more time to consider the change as well as negative feedback were cited as the reasons for the extension until March 8. OSHA is scheduled to have a public meeting tomorrow on the proposed new rule to allow public comment.

A new requirement proposed by OSHA would make certain employers submit OSHA 300 injury and illness recordkeeping data electronically and would make some of the data public.

Last chance to sign up for our GHS Webcast and save 20%!

By: January 6th, 2014 Email This Post Print This Post

There’s still time to register for the 1/8/14 webcast and save 20%! If you haven’t trained your staff on the new changes to OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard, now’s the time to do it.

Join safety experts Marge McFarlane and Paul Penn in a live 90-minute Webcast on Wednesday, January 8, 2014 from 1-2:30 p.m. EST. McFarlane and Penn will explain what you need to know to be safe and to implement the GHS changes, and give you tips on how to train staff on the changes. Plus, they will answer your questions in a live question and answer session.

Enter source code EW313845 at checkout to receive your discount.

Topics that will be discussed include how to comply with OSHA’s implementation requirements for GHS, tips on how to improve worker safety in your facility, and how to transition from the old Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to the new Safety Data Sheets (SDS) that track hazardous substances in your facility.

Visit the HC Pro Marketplace for more information or to register!

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