We’ve prepared a list of three must-haves that every OSHA compliance manual for medical or healthcare facilities should have. While not designed to be a comprehensive list, it will give direction to help you evaluate your current OSHA program or regulatory manual for healthcare compliance.
Tackle Medical-Specific Hazards
OSHA has oversight of nearly all worksites in America. As a result, the agency has safety guidelines for almost every industry, including healthcare. These guidelines are developed based on working conditions and the hazards that employees might face in each one.
One example is the ionizing radiation standard. The standard is written for all employees who could be exposed to X-rays or other forms of ionizing radiation. But if your workplace does not have devices that produce ionizing radiation, you would not need to follow the requirements of this standard.
With that in mind, OSHA guidelines for healthcare workers should be included in almost every OSHA compliance manual for medical facilities.
- Bloodborne Pathogen Standard – Employers are subject to OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens standard if they have employees whose jobs put them at reasonable risk of coming into contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials. Employers subject to this standard must develop a written exposure control plan, provide training to exposed employees, and comply with other standard requirements.
- Ionizing Radiation Standard – This standard applies to facilities with an x-ray machine. It requires affected employers to conduct a survey of the types of radiation used in the facility, including x-rays, to designate restricted areas to limit employee exposure and to require employees working in designated areas to wear personal radiation monitors. In addition, radiation areas and equipment must be labeled and equipped with caution signs.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – In medical settings, PPE is closely associated with the bloodborne pathogen standard as a way of limiting employee exposure. Employers must assess each operation in their workplace to determine if their employees are required to wear PPE, such as masks and gloves. Note that engineering controls and work practices are the preferred methods for protecting employees – OSHA generally considers PPE the least desirable means of controlling employee exposure.
- Other Hazards
- Healthcare worksites using compressed gases must also address the risk posed by these substances. OSHA nitrous oxide exposure and oxygen are two examples.
- Many providers offer in-office laser therapy or surgery, which means the hazards posed by these devices must be addressed.
- Latex allergies by employees and clients must also be addressed and mitigated.