OSHA Compliance – Employee Safety – Workplace Violence

It’s critical for your organization to stay up-to-date on OSHA Compliance because not only are healthcare workers regularly exposed to workplace hazards, but they are also more susceptible to workplace violence than those working in other professions.

5 Questions about OSHA Compliance – Employee Safety -Workplace Violence

What does “Standard Precautions” refer to, and why is it important to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) in a clinical environment?

“Standard precautions” describes a comprehensive approach to infection control that treats all human blood and certain human body fluids as if they were known to be infectious for HIV, HBV and other bloodborne pathogens.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) creates a barrier between the skin and these potentially infectious materials. PPE also protects healthcare workers from the chemicals that are used to sterilize and clean surfaces and equipment. Typical PPE might comprise a face shield, a face mask, eye protection, ear protection, medical gloves, and a medical gown.

It’s also important to note that there can be significant health and safety hazards associated with the products being used for disinfection. Be sure to READ THE LABEL and utilize PPE recommended by the manufacturer. Also be sure to READ THE LABEL of the sterilization product to be aware of the contact time required to effectively kill pathogens.

Are Safety Data Sheets required in a healthcare environment for OSHA Compliance?

The Hazard Communication Standard requires that chemical manufacturers, distributors or importers provide Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) for each hazardous chemical to communicate the appropriate information to the user.

The SDS includes information such as the properties of each chemical; the physical, health, and environmental health hazards; protective measures; and safety precautions for handling, storing, and transporting the chemical.

For any gels, sprays, foams and liquids that contain a mixture of chemicals, a SDS is required to be maintained in an organized fashion with an appropriate Table of Contents (TOC) and that SDS manual needs to be available for all workforce members. The SDS manual should be reviewed annually for accuracy.

What are the requirements for OSHA Compliance related to eyewash stations, first-aid kits and spill kits?

OSHA requires that all businesses, regardless of industry, provide a first aid kit to its workforce members. It must be in a sealed container and properly labeled with an adequate amount of contents to provide basic triage for minor injuries. Additionally, if there is reasonable chance of an eye injury or if chemicals are kept on site, the business is required to have an eyewash station and spill kit available. Eyewash stations require a weekly inspection that should be documented. First aid kits and spills kits should be inspected monthly to ensure that their contents are adequately intact.

What are the OSHA requirements for keeping workforce members safe from needlesticks?

OSHA established the Needlestick Safety & Prevention Act to minimize the occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens from accidental sharps injuries in healthcare.

This modified OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens standard requires employers to identify, evaluate and implement safer medical devices such as needleless systems and sharps with engineered sharps protections.

This standard applies to all employers with workforce members who have occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM), no matter how many workforce members. It also requires annual consideration and implementation of suitable and safer medical devices designed to eliminate or minimize occupational exposure.

Does OSHA have standards for workplace violence?

OSHA does not have a detailed standard for workplace violence, but to re-emphasize a portion of the General Duty Clause from above, regarding “hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees,” OSHA recommends that employers develop a comprehensive workplace violence program.

Healthcare workers are the most susceptible occupation to workplace violence and your workforce members need to be prepared to protect themselves.  Employers who do not take reasonable steps to prevent or abate a recognized violence hazard in the workplace can be cited.

How does HealthCare Compliance Network assist with OSHA Compliance?

  • Performing onsite assessments for OSHA Compliance
    It is critical to conduct a walkthrough to assess the environment looks and determine how workforce members are interacting within that environment.
  • Conducting onsite trainings for OSHA Compliance
    Direct interaction with workforce members provides an excellent opportunity for learning.
  • Developing a comprehensive OSHA manual
    A required manual is the best source of information for understanding OSHA Compliance.
  • Creating site specific OSHA Safety online trainings
    Your workforce is required to know about site specific details regarding their overall safety (e.g. where the spill kit is stored and what the proper evacuation routes are).
  • Incorporating in other regulations from CDC, NIOSH & NFPA to ensure the safest work environment.
    Other regulatory bodies are also involved with the safety of a work environment.
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General Duty Clause of OSH Act

OSHA’s General Duty Clause requires that “each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.” Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act

Healthcare employers are required to assess their workplace to minimize or eliminate workplace hazards. They are also required to conduct annual staff training programs regarding the following OSHA safety-related areas:

Hazard Communication Standards

Bloodborne Pathogen/Infection Control

Fire and Life Safety

Workplace Violence/Active Shooter

General Safety

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HealthCare Compliance Network, LLC
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