Author Archive for: Brian Ward

Use new delays to catch up to more stringent USP requirements

October 9th, 2019 Email This Post Print This Post

By A.J. Plunkett (aplunkett@decisionhealth.com) and Brian Ward (bward@hcpro.com)

Check with your state health department or board of pharmacy to see if you must still comply with the requirements under USP chapter <800> Hazardous Drugs—Handling in Healthcare Settings starting December 1.

While the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) announced another round of delays in September in implementing new requirements for pharmaceutical compounding, your local authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) may still require them, note compliance experts.

Even if you do have a reprieve, hospitals and other health care organizations should use the time wisely and continue efforts toward compliance. The revisions will be implemented eventually, maybe sooner than later, warns Kurt Patton, MS, RPh, a pharmacist and former director of accreditation services for The Joint Commission (TJC).

From “what I have read, it sounds like the appeal process is expeditious so people are assuming by the end of the first quarter 2020 it should again be official,” says Patton, founder of Patton Healthcare Consulting.

Pending industry appeals of some provisions under new and revised chapters USP <795> Pharmaceutical Compounding—Nonsterile Preparations and USP <797> Pharmaceutical Compounding—Sterile Preparations as well as the new chapter USP <825> Radiopharmaceuticals—Preparation, Compounding, Dispensing, and Repackaging delayed the scheduled December 1 implementation of those chapters.

Because new USP <800> Hazardous Drugs—Handling in Healthcare Settings refers to the other chapters, it is considered by USP to be “informational only” until the revisions are final.

Ensure EPA compliance: Ban all sewering of hazardous waste drugs

October 9th, 2019 Email This Post Print This Post

Review and update policies on the disposal of pharmaceuticals to prohibit the flushing of any drugs into the sewers. Experts say that may be the best way to ensure compliance with a new EPA regulation banning the sewering of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals that went into effect August 21.

The policy update also may help ease requirements on frontline staffers, who will no longer have to keep track of what they can and can’t flush down the drain. And it may even help you stay on the good side of federal regulators, who are encouraging the no-sewering of any drug as a best practice to protect water resources.

The August 21 ban on the sewering of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals is the first deadline set out in new EPA regulations published in a February final rule. That rule overall sets up a new category, Subpart P, under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

The ban is the only part of the rule that goes into effect at all healthcare facilities across the United States and its territories without exception. That’s because the EPA is declaring the ban under the authority set out by the federal Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments (HSWA).

Other parts of the final rule, officially known as the “Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals & Amendment to the P075 Listing for Nicotine,” are under RCRA and must be approved in each state or territory that has its own RCRA-authorized program (more on that in a bit).

OSHA regulatory training requirements 2019

October 9th, 2019 Email This Post Print This Post

Use this chart to check worker safety training requirements for hospitals. This chart has been reviewed by healthcare and OSHA compliance experts, but may not be all inclusive for every facility. This link will open a editable Excel sheet HSL OSHA regulatory training requirments 2019 (1)

Hazards continue after the wildfire

December 7th, 2017 Email This Post Print This Post

Fires continue to rage in Southern California this December, continuing a long and brutal wildfire season for the state. Low rainfall and high winds have caused the Thomas fire (which spans 150 square miles as of this post) to spread through Venture and Los Angeles counties.

Once the flames die out, there will be weeks or months of cleanup and repair needed. Workers involved in the clean up will face a variety of hazards as they help affected communities. OSHA has updated it’s site with resources on common hazards associated with wildfires and highlight useful precautions for workers:

Read more on the OSHA website

Feds delay mandatory use of electronic injury reporting system again

November 28th, 2017 Email This Post Print This Post

Employers under federal OSHA jurisdiction have until Dec. 15, or an extra two weeks, to learn how to use the agency’s new electronic injury reporting system.

The day before Thanksgiving, OSHA officials announced the agency was extending the compliance deadline for filing the already-required workplace injury and illness reports in the agency’s new online system, officially known as the Injury Tracking Application (ITA). The ITA was designed to allow officials to track injuries electronically.

This is the same system that was suspended for a few days in mid-August after it went live because of a warning from the Department of Homeland Security that information from at least one company that had already submitted through the portal might have been compromised.

Public access to the portal was restored a few days later. An OSHA spokesperson told HCPro’s OSHA Healthcare Advisor in an email in late August that the National Information Technology Center conducted a scan and confirmed that none of the ITA data had been compromised. (HCPro is a partner publisher to DecisionHealth under H3.Group.)

“As part of this review, the entire OSHA website was scanned and improvements implemented,” the spokesperson said.
Concerns about the ITA and the security of information have been among controversies that have dogged the program since it was first approved in a final rule in May 2016. The ITA was originally supposed to go into use in July, but was delayed because of related legal challenges.

In announcing this most recent delay, the federal agency noted that certain states with their own OSHA programs that have not yet adopted the requirement to submit injury and illness reports electronically were not under the Dec. 15 deadline.

“Unless an employer is under federal jurisdiction, the following OSHA-approved State Plans have not yet adopted the requirement to submit injury and illness reports electronically: California, Maryland, Minnesota, South Carolina, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming,” according to the OSHA announcement. “Establishments in these states are not currently required to submit their summary data through the ITA. Similarly, state and local government establishments in Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, and New York are not currently required to submit their data through the ITA.”

And other changes may be ahead. In addition to announcing the delay, OSHA said it is “currently reviewing the other provisions of its final rule to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, and intends to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking to reconsider, revise, or remove portions of that rule in 2018.”

— A.J. Plunkett (aplunkett@h3.group) and Steven Porter (sporter@blr.com)
Resources
• OSHA announcement of December 2017 delay: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDOL/bulletins/1c6be1d
• OSHA Healthcare Advisor blog on potential security breach: http://blogs.hcpro.com/osha/2017/08/potential-security-breach-prompts-suspension-of-oshas-new-injury-tracking-portal/
• OSHA webpage on new electronic recordkeeping rule: https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/finalrule/ 

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