Author Archive for: Medical Environment Update

Safety officer tip: Play it safe with the general duty clause

March 22nd, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Sometimes there will be a danger in the workplace that OSHA hasn’t drafted a particular standard to address. This is the case with hazards such as MRSA, TB, ergonomics, and workplace violence. However, some states address such issues through their state laws (e.g., New York law covers workplace violence). In situations like this, OSHA can enforce language in the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 USC 654), section 5, commonly referred to as the general duty clause:

Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.

Because OSHA standards are laws and have to undergo the congressional review process, a hazard that is relatively new might take time to go through drafting and approval. Sometimes OSHA considers the already-published safety guidance from agencies like NIOSH to be sufficient and will choose not to waste resources reinventing the wheel. Still other times, OSHA opts to provide safety information using guidelines, fact sheets, and other published materials that it treats as standards.

Remember, if an agency like the CDC has stated that a particular hazard exists in the medical workplace, you will be hard-pressed to prove to OSHA that the hazard wasn’t recognized. That’s why it’s best to take a conservative approach and follow published recommendations as if they are required.

Source: Excerpted from HCPro’s OSHA Training Handbook for Healthcare Facilities.

Ask the expert: Blood exposure and eyewash station checks

March 16th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: We have no corrosive chemicals in our work area that would require an emergency eyewash station under Medical Services and First Aid, 1910.151(c), but we have the units for blood splashes to the eyes. Can we dispense with the weekly testing?

Read the rest of this entry »

Vital stats: Hand hygiene and glove use

March 14th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Prompted by the study reported in the March issue of Medical Environment Update, HCPro’s OSHA Healthcare Advisor asked readers about hand hygiene performance before and after glove use in their facilities. Here are the results.

Read the rest of this entry »

Kicking a dirty habit: Hand hygiene rates lower when gloves are used—Medical Environment Update, March 2012

March 14th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Most healthcare facilities have created some sort of campaign to raise levels of hand hygiene compliance—from creating signs and uploading sing-along viral videos to deploying “secret shoppers” around the nation to sneakily observe who is or isn’t washing their hands.

Yet a new study shows that when it comes to one specific practice—cleaning hands before and after glove use—healthcare workers have much lower rates of compliance, and that is is the focus of the March issue of Medical Environment Update.

Here is an excerpt.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ask the expert: Carpeting in lab blood draw rooms

March 8th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: Are there any OSHA rules against carpeting in lab blood draw rooms?

A: OSHA does not specifically prohibit carpeting where phlebotomy procedures occur, but that doesn’t mean you should redecorate immediately.

If you are going to have a carpeted blood draw area, you should certainly assess the risk for spills and choose floor material that allows for safe and efficient decontamination.

From an infection prevention perspective, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) in Infection Control in Ambulatory Care recommends against carpeting for aesthetic and odor control reasons in areas where blood and body fluid spills will routinely occur. These areas include laboratories, procedure rooms, and soiled utility rooms, according to APIC.

 

Ask the expert: Storing specimens with medications

February 29th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: We are aware that specimens cannot be stored with food, but is it okay to store blood, urine, and other specimens in the same refrigerator and/or freezer with medications?

A: No. “Store patient food, medications, and specimens in separate, labeled refrigerators,” according to the APIC’s Infection Control in Ambulatory Care.

“Glucose beverages may be stored in the medication or the patient food refrigerator, but never in the specimen refrigerator,” the book adds.

Get into compliance with HCPro’s Basic OSHA Compliance Manual Kits for medical or dental practices. Receive bimonthly electronic manual updates through your newsletter subscription that keep your regulatory manual up to date and in compliance!

Safety officer tip: Play it safe with the general duty clause

February 22nd, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Sometimes there will be a danger in the workplace that OSHA hasn’t drafted a particular standard to address. This is the case with hazards such as MRSA, TB, ergonomics, and workplace violence.

Read the rest of this entry »

Safety officer tip: Enjoy recordkeeping exemptions—while you have them

February 6th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Be grateful for the little things. While hospitals and long-term care facilities are busy this month posting workplace injuries to meet the federal OSHA posting requirements, you don’t have to—that is, as long as you understand the recordkeeping exemptions for your type of healthcare facility.

OSHA requires most businesses to post a summary of the previous year’s injuries on the OSHA 300-A form from February through April “in a conspicuous place or places where notices to employees are customarily posted,” according to the OSHA Recordkeeping Handbook.

Whereas some healthcare facilities are exempt from posting, others are not. You must post if your business is a nursing and personal care facility, hospital, or home healthcare service. Facilities that don’t need to post include offices or clinics of medical doctors (that includes ambulatory surgery centers), dentists, and osteopathic physicians; offices of other health practitioners; medical and dental laboratories; and health and allied services.

If you do business in a state operating its own OSHA program, check with the injury posting requirements as not every state has adopted the federal recordkeeping exemption.

Ask the expert: Source patient testing after needlestick injury

February 3rd, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: When must we obtain testing consent from the source individual after an employee needlestick exposure?

A: The sooner the better.

Section 1910.1030(f)(3)(ii)(A) of the Bloodborne Pathogens standard says, “The source individual’s blood shall be tested as soon as feasible and after consent is obtained.” If consent cannot be obtained, OSHA requires you to document as such.

Also, if you are in a state where the source individual’s consent is not required, “the source individual’s blood, if available, shall be tested and the results documented,” according to the standard.

CDC releases infection prevention plan for outpatient oncology setting—Medical Environment Update, January 2012

January 20th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

A new ‘plug and play’ infection control plan that allows oncology clinics to get up to speed on basic infection prevention policies and procedures is the focus of January issue of Medical Environment Update.

Here is an excerpt:

Read the rest of this entry »

Ask the expert: Gloves for injections

January 12th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: In researching OSHA guidelines, I found that wearing gloves during an injection is not required. Any thoughts on this? I would like to make wearing gloves a requirement in my facility.

A: Wearing gloves may be prudent, but not required by OSHA.

“Gloves are usually not necessary when administering intramuscular or subcutaneous injections as long as bleeding that could result in hand contact with blood or OPIM is not anticipated, according to Enforcement Procedures for the Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens.

Employers may have exposure control plans that go above the minimum requirements for the Bloodborne Pathogens standard, so if you decide to require gloves for all injections, be sure to specify the policy in the exposure control plan.

Vital stats: Integrating facility, patient, and worker safety

January 5th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

The concept that safety is safety, whether it is fire safety for the building, patient safety, or occupational safety for staff, has been around for awhile, and a recent study shows that patient safety outcomes have been associated with nurse safety.

OSHA Healthcare Advisor asked its readers to assess the integration of safety areas in their facility. Here are the results:

Read the rest of this entry »

Subscribe - Get blog updates via e-mail

  • test
  • HCPro Broadcast Events Calendar

hcpro.com