Archive for: Bloodborne Pathogens

International study examines infection prevention practices in dental settings

By: January 9th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

A study assessing infection prevention practices of dentists in eight countries shows a wide variety of competency, and that includes U.S. practitioners.

“Comparison of knowledge, attitudes and practice of dental safety from eight countries at the turn of the century,” which appears in the January Journal of  Contemporary Dental  Practices, assessed 1,874 clinicians in eight countries on practitioner’s knowledge, attitudes, and practice of infection control, and, not surprisingly, the results varied from country to country.

For example:

  • Practitioners in Asian countries showed a significantly lower rate of immunization against hepatitis B than U.S. practitioners.
  • For HIV protection, Chinese practitioners report using surface barrier protection 15% of the time compared to 92% for U.S. practitioners.
  • Practitioners in Pakistan report using exam gloves 58% of the time, while U.S. practitioners use exam gloves 97% of the time.

U.S. practitioners consistently outscored international colleagues on infection prevention practices except in one category, understanding of universal and standard precautions.

“For all groups assessed, including the United States, little over 50% of practitioners understood and practiced Universal/Standard (UP/SP) precautions effectively,” according to the study.

Sharp advice for healthcare leaders

By: December 20th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

Safety culture, while every staff member’s responsibility, has to be a big item for any leader of a healthcare organization. And, as a subset of safety culture, sharps safety is critical to protecting healthcare workers.

That is why I found the article authored by experts from International Healthcare Worker Safety Center at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and appearing in HealthLeaders Media, December 6, such a good fit for this blog space, because it asks leaders how their institutions are faring in the continuous quality improvement efforts needed to maintain sharps safety.

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OSHA files whistleblower lawsuit against medical clinic

By: December 8th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

When healthcare workers blow the whistle, OSHA has been listening.

The notice of OSHA’s filing of a suit against a Brighton, CO, medical clinic for firing a worker who complained to OSHA about unsafe conditions in the practice is another reminder that:

  1. OSHA is charged with conducting whistleblower investigations, and not only for safety standards but for 20 other federal statutes
  2. It is not only big businesses that draws OSHA’s wrath, but small ones, too
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Puncture brings needlestick safety to the public eye

By: December 7th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

The film Puncture offers a mainstream medium for needlestick safety versus manufacturers and purchasing groups, and is the focus of the December issue of Medical Environment Update.

Here is an excerpt:

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OSHA, GPOs, and safety devices

By: December 7th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

With the film Puncture and its indictment against group purchasing organizations (GPO) being  featured in the December issue of Medical Environment Update, what does OSHA have to say on the potential conflict between identifying the best safety devices and not being able to acquire them because of purchasing contracts?

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Shuffling bacteria when shuffling paper

By: December 1st, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

While many areas in our lives strive to go paperless, it, meaning paper, is still around, and its omnipresence in healthcare as a possible source of infections is the focus of a German study.

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Safety officer tip: Small practices hardest hit by bloodborne pathogens fines

By: November 29th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

A reader liked my post on OSHA citations of small medical practices, but thought that an analysis of the dollar amount of bloodborne pathogens fines would better ensure compliance by hitting practice owners in the pocketbook.

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Ask the expert: Does OSHA allow electronic employee health files?

By: November 18th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: Our company is moving to another location with less storage capacity and we are changing change most of our files to electronic form. Does OSHA allow employee medical records to be maintained electronically?

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OSHA new directives on workplace violence whistleblower investigations apply to healthcare facilities

By: November 7th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

Two recently issued documents by OSHA come from the W section of the index of occupational safety and health regulations: workplace violence prevention and whistleblower investigations were the focus of  November issue of Medical Environment Update. While both documents are intended for use by OSHA inspectors, awareness on the part of safety officers could lead to better compliance and the avoidance of inspections in the first place.

Here is an excerpt:

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More ambulatory surgery centers taking OSHA hits

By: November 3rd, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

With more than half of the surgeries in the U.S. performed in ambulatory care settings, ambulatory surgery centers (ASC) and physician offices are under higher scrutiny from OSHA to protect healthcare workers from bloodborne pathogens hazards, according to a two-part series of articles published in October and November editions of the AORN Journal.

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Hospitals seeing red, as in more bloodborne pathogens violations

By: October 12th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

OSHA has hit hospitals with more and higher fines for bloodborne pathogens violations compared to last year, according to October issue of Briefings on Infection Control. The report uses data from the OSHA Office of Management System, from July 2010 through June 2011. Here is an excerpt.

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Needlestick hazards in nonhospital settings? Better believe it

By: October 10th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

Despite the volume and complexity of procedures, ­hospitals don’t have a monopoly on needle­stick and sharps injuries suffered by healthcare workers. In the October issue of Medical Environment Update, healthcare safety experts show how hazards are present, injuries happen, and OSHA compliance is low in nonhospital settings. 

Here is an excerpt:

A needlestick is a needlestick is a needlestick
Not too far into her part of the “Achieving Sharps Safety Compliance in Non-Hospital Healthcare Settings,” presentation, Elise M. Handelman, RN, MEd, an occupational and environmental health consultant who worked in OSHA for nearly 20 years, quoted from OSHA’s Enforcement Procedures for the Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens:

Where engineering controls will reduce employee exposure by removing, eliminating, or isolating the hazard, they must be used.

And that applies to nonhospital settings, period, Handelman added.

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