No doubt, when you work in the healthcare industry, you want to provide a comfortable and positive experience. Plus, under the law, medical facilities must prioritize a safe environment for their employees as well as their patients. To be sure your practice takes the right steps to create this atmosphere—beginning with upper management and moving down to your employees—our team is ready to assist you. Here, we provide you with a detailed guide that outlines how to get your medical office OSHA compliant.
Take Steps To Remove Probable Hazards in Your Building
For healthcare practices to prevent unwanted incidents, these facilities must effectively communicate with their employees and anticipate building safety concerns before they arise. To mitigate patient and staff falls, slips, and trips, keep office walkways clear—even seemingly small objects can pose issues in, for example, small hallways. Remember to consider electrical safety, too; facilities may overlook regularly inspecting and attending to electrical wiring, but it puts employees in danger. If your facility works with flammable gas, it requires special wiring. Plus, all medical offices should have accessible fire extinguishers and unobstructed emergency exits. Facilities must display diagrams of evacuation routes in every room, including examination and treatment spaces.
Equip Your Practice and Prepare Your Staff for the Day-to-Day
To start, it’s no secret that you must clean all surfaces in your facility and, along the same lines, supply employees with clean instruments and personal protective equipment (PPE). Staff members also require functioning and up-to-date devices to perform a wide range of medical procedures. If you find you’re your practice has broken or malfunctioning supplies, immediately replace the items. Should you have larger equipment, label the machines as “Out of Service.”
Further, if your facility has x-ray technology, your facility will need to know the types of radiation from diagnostic imaging equipment. By recognizing the radiation present, you can properly label rooms with signage to inform employees of restricted access to these areas and fulfill OSHA’s Ionizing Radiation Standard.
There are some final things that medical practices require for daily operations. For accidental nicks or minor injuries, provide first-aid materials for all staff members. Additionally, ensure everyone has access to color-coding and labeling supplies to adequately “tag” equipment. And, of course, post OSHA signage—in plain sight—within the space. Certainly, your staff may feel overwhelmed by the numerous OSHA regulations they must remember, but signage will jumpstart their memories. Not only will these posters eliminate the likelihood of employee complaints or OSHA citations, but the signage will inform employees and encourage them to report work-related injuries to you as soon as they happen.
Devote Time To Frequent Employee Training
When experienced managers provide their employees with the appropriate information for operating in their specific line of work, all staff members can perform at their best. In the case of medical facilities, you must ensure your medical professionals can operate equipment and care for their PPE. Handling bloodborne pathogens and chemicals is another essential job responsibility that requires training. To prevent the exposure to and spread of diseases or illnesses through blood and other infectious bodily fluids, facilities should emphasize record keeping. Ensure your facility creates an accessible written plan—an Exposure Control Plan (ECP)—every year. The plan must detail job responsibilities where there is occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens, and employees must also know to do the following:
- Properly dispose of contaminated sharp objects, such as needles and scalpels, and record needlestick and sharps injuries
- Encourage hygienic practices, such as adequate respiratory hygiene and handwashing
- Utilize hazardous waste receptacles for medical waste disposal
- Remove contaminated PPE
- Move food and beverages out of locations where potentially infectious materials (PIMs) are present
- Avoid eating, drinking, smoking, or handling contact lenses or cosmetics in work areas where contact with bloodborne pathogens is likely
In terms of chemicals, staff should know how to correctly identify and label chemicals. What’s equally important is the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), or the “Right to Know” Standard, which requires medical offices to warn their staff about hazardous chemicals and contaminated equipment present in the facilities. Your employees should know that the facility must record any potential hazards through Safety Data Sheets (SDS). As the employer, be sure to organize SDS and store them digitally or within reach—wherever your employees can easily access them.
Naturally, it’s important to discuss emotional, mental, and physical obstacles with your staff as well. For instance, your employees must familiarize themselves with confidentiality as well as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA); although OSHA covers worker safety, HIPAA intersects with OSHA, as it focuses on patient recordkeeping alongside occupational medical records. As an employer within the healthcare space, you need to know:
- What types of medical records and personal health information your employees can access from practice patients
- Your facility must refrain from disclosing unauthorized medical records unless the information is required to comply with workers’ compensation laws
Plus, don’t hesitate to communicate with your staff about ergonomics and repetitive strain injuries (RSIs). Inform employees about lifting responsibilities, including moving and repositioning patients, which may strain the body. Workplace violence is another example; because healthcare workers must work closely with their patients, they’re subject to potential physical and verbal assault, especially when interacting with violent patients. Through training programs, you can prevent escalated incidents and protect employees’ well-being.
The information provided above regarding how to get your medical office OSHA compliant is merely a brief overview and not a complete guide. If your office is unable to designate staff for training, or if your facility requires additional resources, Gamma Compliance Solutions can aid your healthcare practice in meeting OSHA requirements. We offer comprehensive OSHA medical training, which is currently available in convenient packages for all types of medical establishments nationwide. Every package contains easy-to-follow guides, digital materials, review tests, and more. Plus, we provide exceptional service support, so your practice won’t have to purchase additional materials for four years. No matter where you currently are in the compliance process, we can clarify policies and help you reach requirements. This way, you can focus on what you do best: serving your patients.