A critical duty in your medical practice is ensuring that you’re compliant with the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1970 (OSHA). OSHA inspectors may visit your office if someone makes a complaint, prompting a safety audit. Whether or not it comes to that, following OSHA regulations is essential for protecting your employees from harm, maintaining your practice’s reputation, and avoiding costly penalties.
Preferred Waste Concepts helps doctors’ offices stay compliant through proper disposal of medical waste, so we can give you some advice on other things you need to do for compliance.
1. Make sure all employees understand the guidelines
OSHA’s General Duty Clause states that all employees need to be aware of the Act’s guidelines. If your employees are found to be unfamiliar with them, that constitutes a violation.
Since you’re liable for employees’ non-compliant actions, it’s crucial to make sure each of them has read OSHA guidelines and is adhering to them.
2. Have an exposure control plan for bloodborne pathogens
OSHA outlines additional provisions for employees working in an environment with reasonable risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens. Your doctor’s office likely falls under this category.
If you don’t have one already, you need to create a written-down exposure control plan that states how employees should minimize risk of infection. This document must include the use of universal precautions and a clear post-exposure protocol.
You may be asked to replace sharps with safer, commercially available medical devices if you undergo a safety audit.
And if your doctor’s office employs 10 or more people, you’ll need to make sure you’re keeping an accurate and constantly updated sharps injury log.
Your waste disposal methods also factor into your exposure control plan. You’re required to have a safe process in place for managing all contaminated waste that poses a hazard to employees.
3. Follow Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) guidelines
HCS is one of the most commonly cited OSHA regulations in medical practices. The regulation requires you to provide identification and possible hazards of all relevant chemicals you use in your practice.
You’re also expected to show that you have trained employees in the careful use and handling of all the chemicals, as well as providing easy access to safety data sheets.
4. Ensure that you have safe and accessible exits
OSHA also requires you to mark all exits that staff and patients should use in the event that an emergency occurs. You’ll need to have a clear diagram showing all evacuation routes, and you’ll have to place it in a highly visible area.
5. Account for electrical hazards
Your practice is also likely to be evaluated on its compliance with electrical hazards standards. These standards require you to train employees in the use of all equipment, in addition to making sure that they’re only using it to perform their jobs.
And if any of your equipment breaks down, you have to immediately mark it as “out of service” or something similar.
You also need to inspect your devices regularly, making sure to tag them with the last inspection date, the date of the next inspection, and the inspector’s initials.
Maintain OSHA compliance in your St. Louis doctor’s office
Preferred Waste Concepts can help you with a significant part of ensuring OSHA compliance by disposing of your medical waste. We provide documentation that you can present as evidence of proper disposal and employee protection measures. Fill in our contact form to hear from us with more information about our service and more we can do to help you stay compliant.