What is a Dental OSHA Compliance Manual?

OSHA compliance manual for dental office

Dental practices must comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), a federal law administered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA’s function is to ensure employers furnish employees a place of employment that is free from recognized hazards that are causing, or likely to cause, death or serious physical harm to those employees. OSHA enforces its mandate through a series of safety standards.

These standards regulate various types of hazards present in a dental workplace. Such hazards include bloodborne pathogens, hazardous chemicals, and other substances (such as respirable crystalline silica and beryllium). OSHA enforces these standards through investigations and fines. 

Traditionally, an OSHA compliance manual for dental offices played a crucial role in dental office OSHA compliance. This manual would contain copies of the regulations and specific procedures employers needed to implement to ensure employee safety under the regulations. 

Many dental offices still use a dental OSHA compliance manual. Many others have moved away from a paper manual, and have posted safety standard compliance information online. Regardless of the form the OSHA compliance manual for dental offices takes, it must contain specific content covering specific standards. 

The Dental OSHA Compliance Manual: It’s In Your Blood

Dental workers may be exposed to bloodborne pathogens or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) as they perform work using sharps. 

The OSHA bloodborne pathogens standard requires that employers limit employee exposure to bloodborne pathogens. The standard requires dental employers to provide OSHA training to employees so they know how to:

The measures dental employers must use to minimize exposure must be included in a written bloodborne pathogen exposure control plan (ECP). The OSHA compliance manual for a dental office must contain this document, so employees can readily access it for guidance. 

Suppose a dental OSHA compliance manual does not contain an ECP, or an employer has not developed one. In that case, the employer faces potential fines should they suffer a bloodborne exposure that causes injury. 

The OSHA compliance manual dental ECP component must be written in plain language that employees can understand. Dental practices must also ensure the plan’s effectiveness by making periodic revisions as needed. 

For example, the ECP requires that employers attempt to substitute safer methods of working with sharps to reduce the risk of contamination. If an employer introduces a safer method, the employer must include and describe the details of the method in the ECP, and update the OSHA compliance manual by with the new ECP.

OSHA and HIPAA Combined

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