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OSHAlert Blog from Quality America

Color Blindness Testing

Q: The office I work for has performed Ishihara testing (color blindness) for a number of years. They said at one time this was a requirement. Is this still something we need to perform on new hires? If so, what...

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Posted by salholm at 09:51 AM

TB Skin Test Contraindicated?

Q: Can the Mantoux PPD skin test be given to an employee allergic to Tetanus vaccine? A: The only contraindication I'm aware of is a documented history of severe reaction to a tuberculin skin test (TST). However, before administering any...

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Posted by salholm at 11:05 AM

Tdap Vaccination

Q: I was reading your May/June 2007 issue of the OSHAWatch Newsletter Updates and have a question about whether the Tdap vaccination mentioned on page 2 is required? Also is Tdap the same vaccination as DTaP? Finally, can pregnant employees...

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Posted by salholm at 10:45 AM

Test Your Knowledge - OSHA

OSHA is concerned with: A. Patient Safety B. Worker Safety C. Business Profitability D. None of the above B. The correct answer is B. OSHA helps to safeguard the right to a safe and healthful work environment for nearly 115...

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Posted by kmazza at 05:04 PM

National Provider Identifier Required Starting May 23, 2007

The National Provider Identifier (NPI) is part of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Administrative Simplification Standard. Beginning May 23, 2007 (May 23, 2008, for small health plans), the NPI must be used in lieu of other provider...

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Posted by kmazza at 04:56 PM

Dental Laboratory Receives OSHA Citations

A dental laboratory in Eden Prairie, MN was issued four serious citations during a recent inspection with initial fines totaling $1,200. The violations were for: 1. Medical services and first aid: "Where the eyes or body of any person may...

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Posted by kmazza at 04:44 PM

Cleaning Up Urine

Q: We had a patient come into the office. While sitting in his wheelchair he proceeded to urinate and left a spot on the carpet. Who in the office is allowed to clean this up? We have no housekeepers. Are...

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Posted by salholm at 04:54 PM

Exit Signs

Q: Do exit signs have to be 'illuminated'? Your OSHA Manual indicates that they do, however, it also states that a printed sign can be used within certain parameters. We have 'neon' reflective printed exit signs in this call center...

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Posted by kmazza at 01:59 PM

Discard Formaldehyde, Lidocaine with Epinephrine, Aluminum Chloride

Q: Is it acceptable to discard formaldehyde, lidocaine with epinephrine, aluminum chloride in kitty litter and then to regular trash? A: Thanks for your question. Using the kitty litter is a good way to dispose of chemicals or drugs that...

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Posted by salholm at 12:07 PM

Signage Colors

Q: We're getting ready to make signs for the instrument cleaning area and compressed gas storage areas. Does OSHA mandate colors for these signs? Would black type on a white background be fine? A: Yes, black and white would be...

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Posted by salholm at 02:00 PM

MSDS for Lead-Containing PPE?

Q: We are reviewing the Radiology MSDS Binder and the manager included "lead" on the updated list. The lead is located in the protective aprons, thyroid shield and gloves. I am not sure if this needs to have an MSDS....

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Posted by salholm at 01:44 PM

National Provider Identifier

Q: Tell me about this NPI number. What's its intended use and possible abuse? Why would a specialist we refer patients to need our provider's NPI? A:The National Provider Identifier (NPI) is part of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability...

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Posted by salholm at 01:27 PM

Save Tests?

Q: Do I need to keep each employee's OSHA annual retraining test on file? A: No, a training log is sufficient for this purpose. Use Form 27, found behind Tab 11 of the OSHA Safety Program Manual (Form 20 found...

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Posted by salholm at 03:29 PM

Mumps Exposure!

Q: Our office has had an exposure to mumps. One of our staff is pregnant. What needs to be done next? A: If the person with mumps works in your facility, exclude them from the office until 9 days after...

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Posted by salholm at 02:50 PM

Dispose of Vaccine?

Q: Someone put the box of Varivax (Merck's varicella vaccine) in the fridge instead of the freezer over the weekend and now it can't be used. How should we dispose of it? A: Based upon the information in this document,...

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Posted by salholm at 02:30 PM

Updating OSHA Manual

Q: I have made a mess. The last 3 updates I have downloaded, however I did not get a chance to change them out until today. Well, I have gotten myself confused as to which updates are correct and now...

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Posted by salholm at 02:09 PM

Re-use Gowns?

Q: We wear disposable type gowns but they are hardly ever contaminated, is it okay to wear them more than one day? A: If the disposable gowns are not contaminated in any way they can be hung on hooks/pegs for...

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Posted by salholm at 02:03 PM

Sinks Required?

Q: Do we have to have a sink in every exam room to meet OSHA regulations? Or, are we only required to wash our hands between patients? I know having a sink in every exam room and washing hands in...

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Posted by salholm at 01:54 PM

Certify Biological Safety Cabinet?

Q: I've been told I need to certify the Biological Safety Cabinet (BSC). What does this mean? How do I do this? A: Certifying a BSC basically means checking the equipment to ensure it's functioning properly, providing protection to employees...

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Posted by salholm at 01:36 PM

Master Hazardous Substance List Required?

Q: Why do we need to have a master listing of the chemicals used in our office? I think getting the various MSDS is enough. A: Well... mainly because "It's the Law". But also to help employees find the correct...

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Posted by salholm at 01:16 PM

Trouble Getting MSDS!

Q: We can't get the MSDS for Gardasil or Zostavax. Our Merck rep told us we had to call the MSDS company. Who is that? Please help. A: If you call the Merck healthcare professionals vaccine support line (1-800-637-2590) they...

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Posted by salholm at 01:04 PM

Dental Patient Records

Q: How long must we keep dental patient records? A: OSHA is the federal agency responsible for worker safety, as such they do not make mandates for patient safety or recordkeeping. We recommended contacting your state dental board for advice....

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Posted by salholm at 12:56 PM

Who Regulates Medical Waste?

Q: Is keeping biohazard manifests an OSHA thing? I can't find the CFR number if it is. A: When it comes to biohazardous waste many different government agencies play roles: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Regulations governing emissions from Hospital/Medical/Infectious Waste...

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Posted by salholm at 12:38 PM

Biohazardous Waste Pick-up Receipts

Q: How long do we have to keep the records regarding our biohazard pick-up and disposal? A: As noted in Tab 8 of the Quality America OSHA Safety Program Manual (Tab 5 for the Dental OSHA Manual), maintain all biomedical...

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Posted by salholm at 12:15 PM

Test Your Knowledge - TB Risk Assessments

Which statement is FALSE regarding TB risk assessments? They should be performed annually. If the health department reported 6 TB patients in your county but only 1 TB patient entered your facility you are considered low risk If you had...

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Posted by kmazza at 12:29 PM

Using Facemasks and Respirators in Public Settings During an Influenza Pandemic

On May 3rd the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released advice on the use of facemasks and respirators in public, non-occupational, settings during an influenza pandemic. The guidance stresses a combination of actions that will be needed during...

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Posted by kmazza at 12:26 PM

Verbal Abuse Workplace Violence?

Q: We have looked in Tab 3 of the OSHA Manual to find that workplace violence references physical assault or the threat of physical assault, but were wondering if there is a more definitive definition? Specifically, is verbal abuse considered...

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Posted by salholm at 12:22 PM

Blunt-Tip Suture Needles Decrease Percutaneous Injuries

OSHA recently issued a Safety and Health Information Bulletin that: Describes the hazards of sharp-tip suture needles to surgical personnel Presents evidence on the effectiveness of blunt-tip suture needles in situations where clinically appropriate Emphasizes the requirement to use safer...

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Posted by kmazza at 12:19 PM

Easy Access to MSDS Keeps Employees Safe

OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard requires that employers keep workers safe from hazardous chemicals. Having easy access to Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for each hazardous chemical used by employees is one important element of meeting the Standard. But ensuring that...

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Posted by kmazza at 11:41 AM

Safety Officers Take a Bow

Today, May 9th, is Occupational Safety and Health Professional Day! Quality America would like to thank each and every one of you who keep up with safety in your facility. You make the difference! We recognize your ongoing efforts to...

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Posted by kmazza at 11:39 AM

Name Tags?

Q: Our "previous" OSHA company told my boss that it was an "OSHA Requirement" that employees wear name tags. I have never heard of this and looked for direction in the manual and haven't found anything. Can you shed some...

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Posted by kmazza at 04:37 PM

Lab Coat Fit

Q: I work for a general dentist in Oregon. I don't care for how the lab jackets fit. Is it acceptable to wear long sleeve shirts instead of jackets? Where I interned in Washington they would wear the shirts under...

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Posted by salholm at 04:19 PM

Where to Post a Citation

Q: If a practice were to receive a citation where is it to be posted? For how long? A: Citations must be posted for three days or until corrected, at or near the location where the violation occurred. (Side note:...

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Posted by kmazza at 10:41 AM

TB Testing - Required or Recommended?

Q: I am in charge of OSHA compliance in a new medical office and I have been reading the OSHA manual. I am a little bit confused as to whether or not TB testing is required or just recommended. Could...

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Posted by kmazza at 04:39 PM

Baked Goods for Patients?

Q: May a patient bring baked goods in for patients to eat in a interventional radiology outpatient setting? A: Thank you for your excellent question about patients bringing baked goods into your practice. OSHA only regulates worker safety, as such...

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Posted by kmazza at 03:58 PM

Motivating Employees Toward OSHA Compliance

Q: We have a problem in our office that I was unaware of until we had a needlestick incident. We have a few staff that are refusing to use the safety devices on our needles after shots and after blood...

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Posted by kmazza at 03:52 PM


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