Archive for: Featured

Ask the expert: Should biohazard bins be kept behind closed doors?

By: August 27th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: We are based in Colorado. Do our red bins for biohazard waste need to be locked in a closet or if it is OK to keep them behind a closed door that is not necessarily locked?

A: There is no specific OSHA regulation that requires medical waste to be locked in a closet, and in looking at the Colorado state public health regulations, it appears that there is no specific requirement to keep medical waste in a locked closet on that count either. If there is a relationship with a local hospital, it may be worth checking with them to see if there is a specific requirement (if there is one anywhere, it would be in the state regulations as there are none at the national/federal level), but it looks like a closed door will suffice.

Now, I will complicate things just a little bit by saying that if you have clinic settings that provide care and services to at risk populations like pediatric and/or behavioral health patients, then you might be better off locking the closet to ensure their safety. It’s definitely a judgment call, but there are certainly instances in which erring on the side of caution is more than appropriate.

–Steve MacArthur

Steve MacArthur is a safety consultant for The Greeley Company, a division of HCPro. He brings 30 years of healthcare management and consulting experience to his work with hospitals, physician offices, and ambulatory care facilities across the country. He is the author of HCPro’s Hospital Safety Director’s Handbook and is contributing editor for Briefings on Hospital Safety.

State advises 8,000 dental patients to be tested for hepatitis, HIV

By: July 24th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

An investigation by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment indicates that as many as 8,000 dental patients may have been exposed to bloodborne pathogens from unsafe injection practices.

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Weekly Poll: Summer dress codes and safety

By: July 23rd, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Do how staff members dress in summertime create worker safety or patient safety problems. Take the OSHA Healthcare Advisor Weekly Poll and let us know.

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LA dumps medical waste fine on hospital

By: July 19th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Kaiser’s South Bay Medical Center will pay $73,615.40 in fines for unlawful disposal of medical waste.

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Mercy! Time to consider risk of MRSA from unsafe injections

By: July 17th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Move over hepatitis B, C, and HIV, and make room for MRSA infections as a consequence of unsafe injection practices.

A July 16 post on the CDC Safe Healthcare blog by Dr. Michael Bell, associate director for infection control at the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, discusses two recent outbreaks in Arizona and Delaware where the use of medication from single-dose/single-use vials for multiple patients resulted in “staph/MRSA infections in at least 10 patients receiving injections for pain relief.”

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Weekly poll: Healthcare workers and latex hazards

By: July 16th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

A jury found against a hospital and awarded $4.7 million in damages in a patient wrongful death suit. The reason, nurses were found negligent in following the hospital’s latex-allergy policy and protocol, according to Outpatient Surgery, July 12. Patients, however, are not the only persons at risk to latex allergies in healthcare settings.

According to OSHA, 8-12% of healthcare workers are latex sensitive, and between 1988 and 1992 there were 1,000 reports of adverse health effects from exposure to latex, including 15 deaths due to such exposure.

In your facility, do you educate healthcare workers and provide them with training materials about latex allergies?

Take the OSHA Healthcare Advisor Weekly Poll and let us know. Also a free Worker Latex Exposure Safety Checklist is available for downloading on the Tools page.

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NIOSH reports chemotherapy drug exposures to oncology clinic staff

By: July 13th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Concerns voiced by staff at an oncology clinic can help protect your workers, who may also handle hazardous drugs.

NIOSH posted a new Health Hazard Report prompted by a request from a Florida oncology clinic where staff members complained about upper respiratory irritation, headache, fainting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.

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Weekly poll: Staff and TB testing

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

For the settings in your healthcare organization that are at low risk for TB exposure, do you follow CDC guidelines and not do annually tuberculin skin tests (TSTs) on staff and volunteers?

Take the OSHA Healthcare Advisor Weekly Poll and let us know.

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Vital stats: Hepatitis B protection for healthcare workers

By: 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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Weekly poll: The Court’s decision on Obamacare

By: July 2nd, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Checking the political pulse of OSHA Healthcare Advisor Readers, are you pleased with the decision of the U.S Supreme Court to uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, or in the parlance of our time, Obamacare.

Take the OSHA Healthcare Advisor Weekly Poll and let us know.

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Study: Influenza vaccination rates differ between hospital and non-hospital settings

By: June 29th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

A study appearing in  Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology looks at how and why healthcare workers in non-hospital settings differ in their acceptance of influenza vaccination, and in particular the vaccination for H1N1.

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Ask the expert: Emergency eyewash stations and blood exposures

By: 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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