Archive for: Uncategorized

Seeking feedback on PPE handbook

By: March 2nd, 2016 Email This Post Print This Post

Hi folks –

Once again, it’s time to ask your opinion about books we at the Safety group at HCPro are working on.

Our latest effort, due out in June, will be a book tentatively called the PPE Handbook for Healthcare Facilities. Based on customer research we conducted, a whopping 85% said they were concerned about proper PPE and its use, and about 50% said they were concerned about pandemic response. About 66% said they would buy a book about Ebola response, and 75% indicated they were likely to buy a book about reducing healthcare-associated infections and infection control as a whole.

Following the Ebola outbreak of late 2014, there were many healthcare workers who complained that their facility did not properly train them or provide proper PPE. In fact, about 50% of our respondents indicated they felt their facility was only “somewhat prepared” for a pandemic or biological emergency.

Another 84% said their facility was forced to change their response plan after last year’s outbreak of Ebola. These changes include new PPE and training their staff members to work with it. Others indicated they have created “SWAT” teams capable of responding quickly to new patients and isolate them quickly. Still others said they have updated their emergency plans to include an Ebola-specific plans, and have drilled with their staff.

We want to produce a book that will be a comprehensive primer of the proper PPE for any infectious diseases/substances healthcare workers are likely to encounter, especially given Ebola, MERS, and other highly infectious diseases that are showing up at hospitals. We could cover respirators, full body suits including donning and doffing techniques, spotters, PAPR respirators and N95 respirators as well as when each would be required. This will be a shorter, “go-to” reference that could also be used to help train your staff.

I’d like to know your thoughts on this book – what you’d like to see in it, what the need for the book is, and what tools, checklists and information you’d like to read about.

Please shoot me an email with your thoughts as soon as possible at jpalmer@hcpro.com. Your input will help shape the content of the book!

Thank you!

John Palmer

Guest Column: The Lab Sound Barrier

By: February 18th, 2016 Email This Post Print This Post

The following is a guest blog by Dan Scungio, MT (ASCP), SLS, a Laboratory Safety Officer for Sentara Healthcare, a multi-hospital system in the Tidewater region of Virginia.

Ergonomics tends to be a lesser concern in the realm of laboratory safety, and noise – an ergonomics issue – gets even less attention. Both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the College of American Pathologists (CAP) require that noise gets proper notice in the lab. Laboratories of all types must have a policy that outline how workers will be protected from over-exposure to noise. What is over-exposure? How can that be measured? Are you doing what needs to be done to meet these standards?

If you have never measured noise levels in your work area, then it is time to take that first step. OSHA requires monitoring in areas where employees may be exposed to 85 decibels (dBA) as measured over an eight hour Time-Weighted Average (TWA). Many laboratories have noise-generating equipment such as centrifuges, analyzers, Biosafety Cabinets, pneumatic tube systems, and more. Smaller labs and clinics may not have equipment that is noisy, but it is a good idea to at least document a baseline set of readings. If your work area is near or above the 85 dBA limit, you should take measurements on a regular basis. If readings are above 85, you must establish a Hearing Conservation Program for your laboratory, and regular noise readings will be a part of that.

Noise readings can be taken in two different ways, via the use of a noise meter or a noise dosimeter. No matter which equipment is chosen, it must be calibrated. A noise dosimeter is a device that stores sound readings and integrates them over time to provide an average of decibels recorded over that given time. A dosimeter is a small device worn by the employee or placed in a given area. Alternatively, a noise meter may be used. This is a device which records single noise readings. Because the meter cannot provide a noise TWA, it is necessary to take multiple readings in multiple locations throughout the laboratory. I recommend at taking at least five readings per location. Be sure to take readings in all areas where employees perform their duties. When taking noise measurements, make sure the usual lab background noise is present- analyzers should be operating, centrifuges should be spinning, and radios (if present) should be playing. It may be necessary to take individual measurements at different times throughout the day. When using a noise meter, you will have to estimate the overall noise exposure and show that levels are under the 85 dBA limit. If you do not have the equipment necessary for monitoring sound using either method, check with the facilities or occupational health department (if applicable), or you may need to contact an outside vendor who performs such readings.

If the noise exposure is determined to be greater than 85 dBA, then the hearing conservation program must be put into place. The program must include continued regular monitoring of noise levels, audiometric testing of employees, hearing protection, and training. Audiometric (hearing) testing must be offered to all affected staff and be performed by a qualified individual (such as an occupational health nurse). Employers must provide hearing protection (such as ear plugs) that fit comfortably and offer sufficient protection. Train employees in the proper care and use of such devices. Employees should also have access to OSHA’s noise standard, and complete training on the program should be documented.

Once you have a noise program in place for the laboratory, remember to keep it active. If there is a change in equipment (a new analyzer, fume hood, etc.), or if equipment is moved, new noise readings should be taken. If employees complain about noise in a particular area, do not ignore the complaint – take measurements and report them to the affected staff.

Once noise issues are discovered, there should be no barriers to correcting them. Noise abatement methods may include substitution of equipment, placement of sound-absorbing materials, and the use of sound enclosures. It is rare for those who work in a lab that ear plugs or other sound-reducing tools are needed. However, it is important – and required – to adequately monitor the noise levels in your lab and to keep your staff safe by protecting them against hearing loss. Make noise protection a vital piece of your laboratory ergonomics program.

 

Seeking input on waste management book

By: January 27th, 2016 Email This Post Print This Post

Hi folks –

Once again, it’s time to ask your opinion about books we at the Safety group at HCPro are working on.

Our latest effort, due out in May, will be a book about hazardous waste handling and management in hospitals, with an eye on regulatory compliance and worker safety.

As you may know, the EPA is considering proposed new regulations governing pharmaceutical waste. Rules currently under review include banning pharmaceutical flushing and labeling of materials that produce hazardous waste. Also, with a rise in unique infectious diseases such as Ebola in healthcare, many hospitals are confused about proper disposal, especially as many trash haulers will not accept Class A medical waste, and such waste is subject to ever-stricter incineration standards.

In addition, as regulations become stronger, and hospitals not in compliance can be fined by the day, the disposal of hazardous wastes in a hospital become much more confusing and crucial to follow. We’d like to do a book that helps you wade through the regulations, explains the different kinds of waste generated, and give you tips on how you can reduce waste in your hospital and save money.

There is not much out there, and most of what is written dates to the 1990s, which indicates most recent information hospitals have to go on is 20 years old. Most hospitals are governed under the RCRA Act 1976 for waste disposal, and are governed by the amount per month of waste generated. It behooves hospitals to cut the amount of medical waste generated to cut costs.

In our 2015 Safety Customer Survey, 63% said they were interested in a book about waste reduction, specifically about decreasing needs for red bags, EPA generator requirements, reducing hazardous waste, and less hazardous alternatives for commonly-used products.

I’d like to know your thoughts on this book – what you’d like to see in it, what the need for the book is, and what tools, checklists and information you’d like to read about.

Please shoot me an email with your thoughts as soon as possible at jpalmer@hcpro.com. Your input will help shape the content of the book!

Thank you!

John Palmer

Want to be an author for HCPro?

By: January 13th, 2016 Email This Post Print This Post

Hi folks –

As you know, from time to time, I ask you for your input on books that the safety market at HCPro will be working on. After all, we are trying to help you do your jobs better and you’re the people who know best what you need.

Below is a list of the book subjects that we have in development for this year. This is in direct response to the feedback we have gotten from customer surveys, market research and trends, as well as a good look at the books we’ve done in the past and felt that needed a re-write.

What we don’t have are authors, and that’s where I need your help. To get these books written, I need to get the ball rolling talking to subject experts who know a things or two about the topics below.

If you are interested in writing a book for us, or know someone who is qualified, please drop me a line at jpalmer@hcpro.com. You don’t have to be an experienced author, and this is a great opportunity to get your name out there on a book cover – and you will be compensated.

 May

Drug Diversion Prevention – Preventing theft of controlled substances at hospitals has always been of paramount importance, but it is still a big problem, as evidenced by the Sept. 28 Justice Department settlement, requiring Massachusetts General Hospital to pay $2.3 million to resolve allegations that lax controls enabled MGH employees to divert controlled substances such as oxycodone for personal use. The book could discuss components of a good prevention plan including things like the establishment of an internal drug diversion team; the creation of a full-time drug diversion compliance officer position; mandatory training of all staff with access to controlled substances, how to identify the signs and symptoms of substance abuse; enhanced diversion monitoring by supervisors and management; annual external audits; and increased physical controls of controlled substances, including limiting and monitoring access to automated dispensing machines through fingerprint identification and other security measures.

June

PPE Handbook for Pandemics – A comprehensive primer of the proper PPE for any infectious diseases/substances healthcare workers are likely to encounter, especially given Ebola, MERS, and other highly infectious diseases that are showing up at hospitals. We could cover respirators, full body suits including donning and doffing techniques, spotters, PAPR respirators and N95 respirators as well as when each would be required.

 October

Hazardous Waste Disposal and Management – As the EPA regulations become stronger (Proposed new generator rule could pass any day), hospitals not in compliance can be fined by the day, the disposal of hazardous wastes in a hospital become much more confusing and crucial to follow. We’d like to do a book that helps you wade through the regulations, explains the different kinds of waste generated, and give you tips on how you can reduce waste in your facility.

December

Proper cleansing/disinfection of GI duodenoscopes – A book about the origins of the problem, what the risks are, how to overhaul your facility’s reprocessing program, as well as the fines and lawsuits that can follow the outbreak of a major infection at hospitals. This book could contain checklists and lots of important information about how to design an effective scope reprocessing team and procedures, as well as how to train your staff who may be responsible for cleaning them.

I look forward to hearing from you!

John Palmer

Safety Success Down Any Path

By: January 7th, 2016 Email This Post Print This Post

The following is a guest blog by Dan Scungio, MT (ASCP), SLS, a Laboratory Safety Officer for Sentara Healthcare, a multi-hospital system in the Tidewater region of Virginia.

For eight years, while performing lab safety audits, I have cited a couple of labs for having keyboards raised. The little legs on the rear of the computer keyboard were up and there was no wrist rest in place. Ergonomically, this is an unsound practice, and it is one item on my safety audit checklist. Needless to say, managers do not view this as a big lab safety issue- not when faced with things like PPE issues, out of date safety checks and various more immediate problems. However, a raised keyboard can create problems for those who perform at the computer often. These problems may not show up until later in life, but the stresses on the wrist of a hand working constantly at an angle (rather than in a straight line as is best) can be serious for that employee.

Last month, while conducting a safety audit, the manager asked me how her lab was doing so far. I reviewed with her the items I had cited, and one was that pesky keyboard issue. I stepped out of the department, and when I returned, I found a pile of keyboard legs on my laptop with a note: “Now you can never cite for this again!”

You may not consider this a major safety victory, but it did illustrate a couple of points I have been teaching safety professionals for years.

1: The secret of a successful lab safety professional is that he or she never goes away- they never quit on an issue.

2: If there is only one person promoting safety in the lab, then that is enough to make a difference.

Point 1 is easier to see in this illustration. When I first began performing these safety audits in the labs, I was citing many areas for that particular ergonomics issue (among others). Some of the lab managers I work with strongly support safety, and others do not, but most were in agreement- this was not a big deal and they were not going to worry about it. I persisted. I cited it every year. I did not give up. I did not go away.

This year, when the manager removed the keyboard “feet,” the story spread, and two other managers did the same. It was a minor safety victory- but it was a victory nonetheless.

Point 2 is a bit more obscure, but it is very important. I have worked with some lab safety professionals whose manager does not support safety in the department. They are trying to make a difference in their safety culture and they feel alone and useless. I strongly believe that the lab safety program will have faster success with management and medical director support, more members on the safety team is definitely of benefit. However, I also believe that one person alone can make a difference in the lab’s safety culture.

For the keyboard story, I was the only one who seemed to care about that one safety issue. I made no headway on it for eight years. Success came (albeit slowly) even though I was the only person talking about it. You might be the only person talking about safety on your lab, and you might be repeating yourself often. You might not see it yet, but you are making a difference.

As a lab safety professional, you may come to a fork in the road on your way to safety improvement. The path to the left could be a road of persistence- you may be fighting the same battle over and over again. To the right is the lonely road where only you seem to be supporting the lab safety initiatives. You might even take the middle road where both challenges occur.

No matter the path you may be forced to take in your work place, the same tactics will assist you in navigating to safety success. Be patient, be persistent, and keep talking about safety.

The Safety Culture Issue

By: December 10th, 2015 Email This Post Print This Post

The following is a guest blog by Dan Scungio, MT (ASCP), SLS, a Laboratory Safety Officer for Sentara Healthcare, a multi-hospital system in the Tidewater region of Virginia.

On which side of the aisle do you stand on the subject of change? Things change – or – things never change? The only constant is change – or – it’s always the same old thing? When it comes to the lab safety culture, there are some generally-accepted thoughts. Change is difficult. Change is slow. Change takes persistence and patience.

I’ve heard other things too- people hate change, or people like change as long as they get to be in charge of it. I do believe most of us like change. After all, we change our clothes, we re-arrange our furniture, we remodel a room in our home. It can be exciting- but the tables seem to turn if it’s a change that is forced upon us or that was not our decision. Changing your lab safety culture for the better can be difficult, but it can be done. First, however, you need to know the current culture and goings-on in your lab in order to be able to make a difference.

There are specific ways to determine the safety culture in your lab. An experienced safety professional can do it fairly quickly. For others, especially those who serve in multiple capacities (you know who you are- you’re in charge of lab safety but you’re also the lab manager, or the quality coordinator, or the POCT coordinator) – for them assessing the culture can be difficult, even with years of experience- because you have so many other things on your plate. That can hinder your ability to make quick assessments, but it will not hinder you completely from being able to make a true safety assessment.

To make an assessment you need to use specific tools that you likely have at your disposal. These tools may come in many forms.

Those who have followed my work for some time know about the tool “Safety Eyes.” This is a safety assessment tool I believe to be a “super power” that we all have and need to develop. It is so powerful, in fact, that a developed user can make a fairly good and accurate safety assessment with a quick glance into the department. Performing a lab safety audit is also a very valuable tool that can give you much information about the department’s culture. Perform a complete audit at least annually, and follow-up on the results. Otherwise, you have wasted your time and resources.

Another important safety culture gauge is the use of a written or electronic safety culture assessment. You may be able to tell what’s going on visually and physically by the evidence of your eyes and safety audits- but this tool is a way to actually get into the heads of your staff. What do they think of the culture? What is their opinion of it? What do they think needs improvement, and how would they suggest making those changes? A safety culture assessment can be given to everyone, or it can be used for specific lab groups. Survey the lab staff, survey those responsible for safety, or survey lab leadership. You should perform a lab safety culture assessment at least annually, but it can be done more often as needed.

Lastly, you can use laboratory data that you already collect to see the current state of safety in the department. Analyzing the data you collect about the injuries, accidents and exposures in your laboratory can be very eye-opening, and if you share the data as safety education, you may be able to lower the number of these types of incidents. Look at the chemical and biological spills in the lab. Analyze how they happened and how to prevent a re-occurrence. If you’re the quality coordinator for your lab or system, you know about root cause and common cause analyses. The incidents that occur in the lab that generate a root cause investigation may not always be about lab safety- but it’s possible that investigations show safety is a key factor, and those results should be reviewed with the safety person in the lab.

There is much fact-gathering in the laboratory setting, even regarding the topic of safety. However, all of that data becomes worthless if there is no action taken with it. Audits, injury data, spill information – it can be very valuable information and it can all be used as a tool to help you truly change your lab safety culture. If you use it properly, you can make a change, you can make a difference, and you might just end up on the correct side of the change aisle!

Win $50 off by taking our 2016 books survey!

By: November 4th, 2015 Email This Post Print This Post

Hi Folks!

From time to time, we ask you to help us out by letting us know what safety products you would like to see HCPro develop. Once again, we’re asking for your feedback that will help us know what information you need and what products will help you do your job better.

Please take a moment to take a quick, 12-question customer survey to help us develop our book titles for 2016. In return, we’ll enter you in a raffle to win $50 off any of our products on the HCPro Marketplace.

Please be sure to include your contact information in the last question to enter the raffle. The winner will be drawn at random and notified by email.

Please click here for the survey.

Free Tools Friday: Fire Drill Evaluation Form

By: October 23rd, 2015 Email This Post Print This Post

It’s October, folks, which means it’s Fire Prevention Month. What have you done to promote fire safety in your facility?

There’s a good chance you’ve been too busy to schedule or plan an in-service training session for your staff, so we’re going to make it easy for you.

It’s Free Tools Friday, and we have for you a Fire Drill Evaluation Form that you can download and use for your own facility.

Take a half hour to practice your fire alarms, as well as your evacuation procedures and make sure everyone knows where they should go if a fire breaks out. While you’re at it, have the local fire department come in and do a free demonstration of how to use a fire extinguisher.

Also, check out all of our other useful tools here.

Upcoming webcast: Hazardous Waste Disposal in Healthcare: Remain in Compliance and Keep Workers Safe

By: October 21st, 2015 Email This Post Print This Post

Complicated rules surround hazardous waste disposal and healthcare facilities want to reduce volume to save costs, but run the risk of not complying with the many regulations and agencies that monitor waste streams.

The EPA, DOT, Joint Commission, and other regulatory agencies require hospitals to adhere to strict guidelines when it comes to the handling and disposal of hazardous medical wastes. Ebola and other high-profile health scares create bio-hazardous wastes that normal trash haulers can’t handle, and pressure hospitals to find alternate ways to handle their waste.

Meanwhile, the EPA is proposing broad new changes that affect the way healthcare facilities process pharmaceuticals and other hazardous wastes that may go into effect in 2016. This webcast will help you know what to expect and when these changes may occur.

Join expert speakers Marge McFarlane, PhD, MT (ASCP), CHSP, CHFM, HEM, MEP, CHEP, and waste management and regulatory compliance consultant Darrell J. Oman for a 90-minute webcast, Hazardous Waste Disposal in Healthcare: Remain in Compliance and Keep Workers Safe, that will take place Wednesday, November 11 from 1-2:30 p.m.

During the program, attendees will:

  • Differentiate EPA, DOT, and OSHA compliance requirements for healthcare wastes and waste management programs
  • Link compliance with accreditation organizations (The Joint Commission, DNV, CMS, CAP) with EPA, DOT, and OSHA requirements
  • Describe the five (5) primary steps to implementing a healthcare campus-wide hazardous waste program
  • Compare a facility’s EPA environmental compliance readiness with actual case studies
  • Identify and anticipate upcoming proposed regulatory changes in hazardous waste disposal and how that will affect operations at their facility

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear practical advice and have complex regulations simplified in this program suitable for your whole organization.

For more information and to register for the webcast, call HCPro customer service at 800-650-6787 or visit the HCPro Marketplace.

Free Tools Friday: “Scrooge List” for holiday decorations

By: October 9th, 2015 Email This Post Print This Post

It’s October, and if you’re like me you’re pretty excited about Halloween, and so too are your employees.

That excitement tends to be the bane of a lot of healthcare safety folks, who find they have to constantly remind their workers about the dangers of hanging decorations around the workplace to celebrate their spookiness.

Well, you don’t have to ban all decorations, but certainly there are some restrictions that must be followed. For Free Tools Friday, we have a “Scrooge list” that you can follow to help make your holiday celebration safer around the workplace.

Find this and our other many useful tools here.

Last chance to sign up for Sept. 23 Active Shooter webinar

By: September 17th, 2015 Email This Post Print This Post

Well, it’s happened again, and are you any more ready for when an active shooter or violent incident occurs at your facility?

If you heard the news, this time two nurses were seriously wounded after they were stabbed July 14 by a patient at Physicians Regional Medical Center in Knoxville, Tennessee by a patient who had been brought in by police for observation after he was acting belligerent at a bus stop.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to develop an emergency response plan for an violent incident by an armed intruder! Join HCPro for a live webcast on Tuesday, September 23 from 1:00-2:30 p.m.

The program will be presented by healthcare safety experts Lisa Pryse Terry, CHPA, CPP, and Christian M. Lanphere, PhD, FP-C, NRP, CEM. They will teach participants how to lessen the risk of a violent confrontation and how to prepare facility staff in the event an armed intruder comes through their doors, and then will take your questions live.

For more information and to register for the webcast, call HCPro customer service at 800-650-6787 or visit http://hcmarketplace.com.\

The Best Answer for Popular College Challenges Is Assignment Service

By: September 10th, 2015 Email This Post Print This Post

If you have a big essay due for a school course as well as to get a high school category, there are always a few items that you need to remember if you are producing your essay. It could not be difficult to get confused when you yourself have a lot of schoolwork, and sometimes you will require some help along with your jobs. If you learn yourself in this circumstance, and you also are looking for a few suggestions on essay writing in general, you have certainly arrived at the correct location. In this specific article, we’re likely to discuss several of the hints that you ought to be of when it comes for the artwork of dissertation writing, aware.

Read the rest of this entry »

Subscribe - Get blog updates via e-mail

  • test
  • HCPro Broadcast Events Calendar

hcpro.com