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Each month we pose a new OSHA compliance question in our OSHA Watch Newsletter.  Below is the Nov/Dec 2005 Question of the Month. (Not an OSHA Watch subscriber? Click here for a sneak preview of our OSHA Watch Newsletter and subscribe in time for our next issue!)

November/December 2005 Question of the Month:  How do we discard spilled mercury?

Check back for the answer to the November/December 2005 Question of the Month in the upcoming January/February 2006 OSHA Watch Newsletter.


2005 Question (and Answer) of the Month

Jan/Feb Question of the Month:  Do we have to retest employees annually for TB?

Answer:  Not unless your workpalce is classified as "medium" risk, (i.e., you had more than three TB patients enter your facility in the last year).  If your workplace is classified as "low" risk, annual employee TB testing is not needed.  Stay tuned for additional guidance on this issue once the new CDC TB Guildelines are finalized.

March/April Question of the Month:  How should eye goggles be disinfected?

Answer:  Without specific manufacturer’s instructions, don utility gloves and clean with a hospital-level disinfectant. Another way to clean blood and potentially infectious fluids off of reusable protective equipment is to make a 10% solution of household bleach and soak the item in it for 10 minutes. Then rinse with tap water and air dry.

May/June Question of the Month:  Must gloves be worn when giving injections?

Answer: The bloodborne pathogens standard requires glove use whenever it’s reasonable to anticipate hand contact with blood or other potentially infectious body fluids, such as when performing vascular access procedures. Surprisingly, OSHA’s 11/05/99 Compliance Directive says: “Gloves are usually not necessary when administering intramuscular or subcutaneous injections as long as bleeding that could result in hand contact with blood or OPIM is not anticipated.”

Bottom Line: The OSHA Experts at Quality America usually don’t interpret the regs more stringently than OSHA does, but in this case we beg to differ. Since most healthcare workers aren’t clairvoyant and can’t predict when a drop of blood will be on the skin when the needle is withdrawn, we recommend wearing gloves for any kind of injection. If you’re in OSHA’s camp, please reply to sdunn@charter.net and let us know why. If we hear from you, we’ll pass along your comments (anonymously if you wish) in the next issue of OSHA Watch.

Source: http://www.osha-slc.gov/OshDoc/Directive_data/CPL_2-2_44D.html

July/August Question of the Month:  Which lab tests for HBV, HCV and HIV should be ordered after a needlestick?

Answer:  Order these tests for the source patient:

•  Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)

•  Antibody to HIV (anti-HIV)

•  Antibody to hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV)

If the source patient tests negative for HBV, HCV & HIV, there is no need to test the exposed employee. If the source patient tests positive for HBV, HCV and/or HIV, or if the source patient is unknown or refuses testing, order the lab tests listed below.

If the source patient is positive for:

•  Hepatitis B, order HbsAg test for employees who are not immune. No

    testing is required for immune employees.

•  Hepatitis C, order Anti HCV and ALT tests. Repeat in 4-6 months and at

    12 months HIV, order Anti HIV test. Repeat at 6 weeks, 3 months, 6

    months, and 12 months or anytime illness occurs that resembles HIV


September/October 2005 Question of the Month:  Are physician offices subject to OSHA’s lockout/tagout regulations?

Answer:  No. OSHA’s lockout/tagout regulations protect employees from electric shock from hardwired equipment (i.e., equipment where the electrical cord cannot be removed from an outlet and is under the control of the person servicing the equipment).

    2004 Question (and Answer) of the Month

(click here)

2003 Question (and Answer) of the Month Archives

(click here)


     Sample OSHA Watch


  Question of the Month

  For additional information on: Post Exposure Follow-up When Source  

  Patient Is Unknown or Cannot Be Tested , click here.


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