The Occupational and Safety Health Administration (OSHA) states that dental professionals face numerous workplace hazards due to the use of certain chemicals and the possibility of work incidents. You must always pay attention to health and safety within a dental office, no matter how small the practice.
Whether you are new to the industry or well-accustomed to OSHA standards, you can recognize the importance of having the correct information and background knowledge for everyday workplace situations. Read on for further information on how to get your dental office OSHA compliant.
Learn How To Make Your Office OSHA Compliant
Running a dental office is no easy task. Despite the business of your office, recognizing the need for regulatory compliance of OSHA standards is a crucial first step. The second step is to determine your responsibilities as an employer. Accidents happen—people may overlook certain areas and make mistakes. But the fact is, you are legally responsible for providing a safe workplace for your staff.
Beyond the main responsibility of a hazard-free workplace, you must examine your office conditions so they precisely comply with OSHA standards. Employers should establish appropriate procedures and communicate them to employees so they are able to follow safety and health requirements in the office. You must provide employees with safe, well-maintained equipment. Employers must also use required labels, signs, and color codes to warn staff of any workplace dangers.
OSHA Paperwork and Documentation
The most obvious mistakes when trying to comply with OSHA standards happen with documentation. Paperwork must be completed, filled out correctly, and properly organized throughout the year.
OSHA requires documents such as printed proof of annual OSHA employee training, verification of GHS chemical training, filed records of Hep B vaccinations, and employee occupational injury histories. Employee occupational exposures must also be categorized and rated. Be aware that different states can require additional paperwork from workplaces.
Recognize Hazards Compromising Safety by Employee Training
Employees are supposed to receive OSHA training annually, as it is mandatory for United States businesses and offices. Every employee in the office must be trained. This includes full-time and part-time staff, clinical and non-clinical employees, front desk workers, and those who operate from the back-end. Ensure each staff member receives training, no matter how long they have worked in your office, or how long they have been active in the dental industry.
Having a uniform training session may help accomplish these training requirements. Employers must guarantee that this training is simple and easy for each employee to understand. Dentists are also required to train their team in the new chemical label and Safety Data Sheet requirements.
The Safety Data Sheet (SDS) contains critical information on chemical classification and their properties, presented in a user-friendly format. This information on the SDS lists risks to personal health, physical health, and environmental health. Protective measures and precautions are described for when staff handles, transports, or put the chemical away for storage.
Understand How OSHA Conducts Inspections
OSHA conducts random inspections, so knowing how to get your dental office OSHA compliant is essential. You should thoroughly prepare for these inspections. Since OSHA is allowed to show up at a chosen facility completely unannounced, a visit may happen at any point during the work week.
If your employees or office are not fully compliant, you can run into some major issues. You should perform vigilant check-ins for staff compliance weekly. Being constantly on the lookout for unmet OSHA standards will be beneficial in the long-run for your team.
Implement Standard Safety Procedures
There is a multitude of standard OSHA safety procedures you must implement. The standards that are considered most relevant to your dental office are reiterated, summarized, and listed below. Check the OSHA website or a dental-specific manual for a full explanation.
- Hazard communication standard: An employer should be completely transparent about chemical hazards in the workplace. Examples of these types of hazards include exposure to hazardous drugs, chemicals used for patient procedures, and cleaning supplies.
- Bloodborne pathogens standard: This describes a basic standard for those who may encounter bloodborne pathogens. Employers must provide a plan for this standard in writing. They have to define how to control the exposure, outline standard precautions, provide guidance for handling sharp objects, and give a step-by-step guide on what to do in case of exposure.
- Exit routes standard: This refers to standard guidance providing critical information about emergency exit protocols. Any facility, including a dental office, must have an exit route that can accommodate the number of individuals inside the building at any given time, staff and patients included. Signs and diagrams for these exits must be highly visible.
- Electrical standard: This is a regulation for any electrical equipment or wiring within the office, particularly if the location or area is hazardous.
- Ionizing radiation standard: This describes a standard about x-ray machine protocols. Many dental offices take routine x-rays of patients. Employees under this standard must be given information on when x-ray equipment is present, exactly what the equipment is for, if there are restricted areas, and how employees stay safe while using the machine or diagnostic image testing equipment.
Learn How To Maintain OSHA Manuals
OSHA regulations can change periodically. Employers must provide new updates to employees when these changes happen. You must be very descriptive and specific when talking to employees. All staff is still required to know the extent of the law.
OSHA manuals catered to your industry are the best resources for beneficial information. As this guide on how to get your dental office to be OSHA compliant was a short overview and not a fully comprehensive manual, you may require further assistance.
Gamma Compliance Solutions is here to provide you with a dental OSHA compliance manual to cover your office’s needs. Extensive OSHA and CDC research has been completed to provide healthcare offices with straightforward information. Your choice of a comprehensive manual package includes support and updates to continue maintaining OSHA compliance in your dental office for years to come.