As we noted in a recent article OSHA has increased their inspection presence in medical and healthcare facilities. Whilst we would not label this a ‘crackdown’, there definitely is increased scrutiny on medical workplace environments.
If you run a medical practice in the United States in 2022, it’s natural that you want to ensure that you’re doing things as safely as possible to protect your staff and patients.
In this short form article we take a quick look at the best ways to make sure your medical practice is OSHA compliant. It’s crucial to your practice to follow all of OSHA’s guidelines to stay in the clear, and avoid any potential OSHA violations or citations.
Your staff should know as much as possible about federal OSHA compliance, and any local state compliance that applies. You should not think of this as simply a ‘box checking’ exercise however, as there are plenty of benefits to training your team.
More confident staff will pass that feeling along to your patients, and feeling enabled when encountering hazards like blood borne pathogens will decrease the likelihood of exposure incidents.
Take the time to teach each member of your staff about the OSHA guidelines used in your medical facility, for example, disinfection and personal protective equipment, and they’ll be better employees.
Make Staff Aware of Hazards
According to OSHA guidelines, employees have a right to know when they are working with hazardous materials, and as an employer, you are mandated to provide them with this information.
You must warn employees of any hazardous materials and clearly label hazards in your workspace according to the OSHA Hazard Communication standard. Clearly labeling and warning about hazards is one of the first ways to make sure your medical practice is OSHA compliant.
Properly Handle Bloodborne Pathogens
Blood and other human bodily fluids (also called Other Potentially Infectious Materials or OPIM for short) can be hazardous, so your staff need to be able to handle them properly to mitigate exposure and disease risk.
Make sure all employees who handle, or may come into close contact with blood and OPIM are adequately protected with properly maintained PPE like nitrile gloves and eye protection.
Dispose of waste that was exposed to bloodborne pathogens must be handled according to procedures outlined in the OSHA BBP standard. This includes the packaging, closing, and proper color coding and labeling of hazardous waste containing blood.
OSHA mandates bloodborne pathogen training for anyone that may come into contact with blood via occupational exposure, and for medical/healthcare facilities there are additional training requirements e.g. on the use of syringes and blood glucose meters so make sure that you select a healthcare specific bloodborne pathogens course.
If you operate a borderline “medical” facility such as a permanent cosmetics studio your staff will likely need to undertake an OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen Certification for tattoo artist course as these courses contain additional information about mitigating risks in procedures that pierce or break the skin.
Protect Against Radiation
If your practice has X-ray equipment, your staff must be trained in and follow OSHA’s ionizing radiation standards. Radiation exposure can cause very serious health problems, so use shields and PPE as directed. Protect your patients and staff from harmful radiation.
Personal Protective Equipment
You must provide medical employees with the proper PPE for each job according to OSHA’s guidelines. Give your staff the right protection for each task they complete in your practice. As the employer you are responsible for the issue and replacement of safe and effective PPE.
According to the hierarchy of controls, Personal protective equipment is the best way to reduce risk when work tasks must be performed.
Undertake Regular Checks
You need to make sure your team follows all the OSHA guidelines whenever and wherever they may be appropriate.
You also must be up to date on your local state licensing rules and regulations for medical practice in your home (or operating) state.
Complete regular checks with your staff to ensure they are following all stipulated standards for health and safety in the workplace.
Regular checks will help to highlight when staff members may need additional training or worksite specific guidance and where to make the right corrections. Check for OSHA compliance in your practice today.