Archive for: Notes from the field

Notes from the field: Don’t tell me, you dropped your engagement ring in the sharps container

By: June 22nd, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

This incident came back to me recently when I heard someone say a cell phone had fallen into a sharps disposal container.

Several years ago, I was in an office when the medical assistant ran up to me saying she had just lost her engagement ring. She was hysterical!

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Notes from the field: You don’t have staff vaccination records?

By: May 21st, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Recently as I was finishing a mock OSHA Inspection, I asked to see the staff vaccination records. The manager looked at me as if I had just asked the most ridiculous question. She had no idea that she was “required” by OSHA to document her employees’ hepatitis B vaccinations.

The manager stated, “I always ask everyone if they had those B shots.”

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Notes from the field: Oh, I see, that crumpled piece of paper is your EXIT sign!

By: April 16th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

During two of my recent mock inspections, both facilities lacked OSHA approved EXIT Signs. I always review the EXIT signs as part of my general health and safety review.

In one office, the only EXIT sign was a piece of paper taped to the glass next to the front door. The crumpled paper had been smoothed out and the word “EXIT” was printed on it. The second office lacked any type of signage stating where there was an exit out of the facility.

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Notes from the field: You have never had a tuberculin skin test?

By: March 19th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

During one of my annual OSHA training classes, I asked if everyone had a tuberculin skin test (TST) in the past year or when they were hired. The response was unanimous. No one had EVER had a TST.

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Notes from the field: Are those “disposable” instruments in your autoclave?

By: January 22nd, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

The last area in which I needed to look at for my mock OSHA inspection, was the lab. This was where all of the instruments were decontaminated. The medical assistant had just removed a tray of instruments from the autoclave (steam sterilizer).

As I was looking for the required chemical indicator in the load, I noticed that the instruments were definitely disposable!

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Notes from the field: Bad air in this medical practice

By: January 15th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

Is that a musty smell; in a physician’s office?

These are the two questions I asked myself as I entered the waiting room of an office to do a mock OSHA inspection.

Once I entered the clinical area, I kept opening doors trying the find the origin of the musty odor. I looked at walls, corners, and floors. I finally realized the office had a basement. As soon as I opened the door leading downstairs, the odor became very strong.

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Notes from the field: You have a ‘just in case box’!

By: December 1st, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

I had just finished teaching an OSHA class, when one of the physicians told me he wanted to show me something. I always wonder what I am going to find when this happens. I have to admit, this was a something I had not seen in all my years of experience in healthcare.

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Notes From the field: Floored on sharps container location

By: November 17th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Let’s play drop the clothespin into the bottle.

Those were my exact thoughts as I watched a physician as he dropped a needle and syringe into a small sharps container that was sitting on the floor.

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Notes from the field: A caller just said there is a suspicious package at the back door!

By: October 30th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Believe it or not, healthcare facilities are not exempt from bomb threats. Recently, an office told me what had happened in their practice several weeks ago.

The practice had received some pediatric immunizations in a white Styrofoam box. At the end of the day that box was thrown in the dumpster. A few days later, the Receptionist answered the phone to hear a muffled voice say there was a bomb at the back door. The caller said he would “get Dr._____________” for not listening to him when he was in the office.

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Notes from the field: Are you using Lysol to clean that counter?

By: October 26th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

When I do my mock OSHA inspections, I often see staff members using household products to clean their counter tops and exam tables. Lysol is an EPA registered disinfectant that kills more than 99% of illnesses causing bacteria and viruses on environmental surfaces in your home, not a medical facility.

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Notes from the field: A Needlestick! What to do, who to call, what to draw

By: September 30th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

A needlestick is one of those injuries we never think will happen to us. We are careful, we follow all of the rules, even use the required safety needles. But, somehow it happens.

It just comes out of no where! The tiny prick, the stab of pain, and that drop of BLOOD!! What do you do?? You must know how to respond quickly and correctly.

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Notes from the field: Hide the coffee cup; the OSHA Lady is here!

By: September 25th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

I hear that coffee-cup-OSHA-Lady description of myself almost everyday when I visit medical practices. I am not from OSHA (Department of Labor), and I am not in your office to perform a real, reportable, OSHA inspection. I am a healthcare consultant, who specializes in OSHA compliance. As a part of your facility’s OSHA compliance program, I will perform an annual “mock” OSHA inspection.

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