Author Archive for: Medical Environment Update

Vital stats: Hepatitis B protection for healthcare workers

July 5th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that healthcare workers “with reasonably anticipated risk for exposures to blood or infectious body fluids receive the complete Hepatitis B vaccine series and have their immunity documented through postvaccination testing.” OSHA Healthcare Advisor asked its readers what percentage of their workers met ACIP recommendations? Here are the results:

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Ask the expert: Emergency eyewash stations and blood exposures

June 28th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

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.

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Vital stats: Passing an OSHA NEP inspection

June 4th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

OSHA’s recently announced a National Emphasis Program (NEP) for nursing and residential care facilities will focus on exposure to blood and OPIM; exposure to other communicable diseases such as TB; exposure to hazardous chemicals and drugs; ergonomic stressors related to lifting patients; workplace violence; and slips, trips, and falls. OSHA Healthcare Advisor asked its readers, regardless of facility type, how confident they were that their healthcare facility would be citation-free if an OSHA NEP inspection occurred right now.

Here are the results.

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Ask the expert: Disposable tourniquets and OSHA regulations

June 4th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: What does OSHA say about reusing tourniquets for blood draws?

A: OSHA doesn’t say anything specific on reusing tourniquets. However, if a used tourniquet meets the definition of “contaminated” as set forth in the Bloodborne Pathogens standard, then it must be decontaminated (or, more likely, discarded) as soon as feasible.

Under the standard, contaminated means “the presence or the reasonably anticipated presence of blood or other potentially infectious materials on an item or surface.”

Contaminated tourniquets pose infection hazards not only to workers, but also to patients. Technically, OSHA is not concerned with patient infections, but those responsible for infection prevention and patient safety in your facility certainly should be.

In short, reusing tourniquets is not absolutely an OSHA violation, but it could be given the specific circumstances of your setting.

 

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Going green can also improve worker safety—Medical Environment Update, June 2012

June 4th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Green initiatives in the healthcare environment offer the obvious perks: financial savings, smaller footprint, and the organizational camaraderie of making a difference in the environment. And the June issue of Medical Environment Update reports on how environmentally sound practices can also spruce up the culture of safety, including worker safety, in healthcare facilities.

Here is an excerpt:

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Ask the expert: Using safety needles in an orthopedic practice

May 23rd, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: Our orthopedic practice only gives steroid injections. Are we required to use safety needles?

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NIOSH guidelines for hazardous drugs in healthcare

May 23rd, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

The following recommendations, published by NIOSH in 2004, cover the prevention of occupational exposures to antineoplastic and other hazardous drugs:

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Chemotherapy drugs and sterilizing agents put nurses at risk—Medical Environment Update, May 2012

May 23rd, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

It’s no surprise that highly toxic chemicals, found in chemotherapy drugs and sterilizing agents used to clean medical devices, can be harmful to those who don’t take the proper precautions. What is surprising is that exposure to these chemicals continues to be an issue, and that is one of the feature articles of the May issue of Medical Environment Update.

Here is an excerpt.

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Vital stats: Training time for HazCom changes

May 17th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Changes to the Hazard Communication Standard, which incorporate the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, require employers to train workers by December 1, 2013. OSHA Healthcare Advisor asked its readers whether they think this is enough time to train workers on the changes in the standard. Here are the results:

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Vital stats: Healthcare as a dangerous job

April 5th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics on workplace injuries and illnesses in 2010, the healthcare worker injury/illness incidence rate of 5.2 out of every 100 full-time workers, is well ahead of the private construction sector, manufacturing, and natural resources and mining. The OSHA Healthcare Advisor asked readers whether they considered their healthcare jobs dangerous. Here are the results.

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Ask the expert: Cleaning logs for medical equipment

April 4th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: How long does OSHA require us to keep a cleaning log for a biosafety cabinet in our oncology dept.

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Ask the expert: Chest x-ray frequency with positive TB test

March 23rd, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: How often should a staff member in a doctor’s office with a positive tuberculin skin test be required to have a chest x-ray?

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