OSHA Requirements for Medical Offices

The medical field has many regulations in place to keep its staff and patients safe. These regulations, training methods, and safety plans are essential not only to maintain compliance, but to ensure that your facility can do its job without jeopardizing human life. Let's take a look at some of those OSHA regulations in this month's blog.

The Long Road to Compliance Begins with Knowledge

They say that knowing is half the battle, and that is certainly true in most aspects of life. When it comes to maintaining compliance with OSHA for your medical facility, knowing what kinds of materials could prove hazardous and what their handling procedures are is more than important; it's required by law. A group of medical professionals

There are five main standards that medical facilities are required to adhere to:

1. Hazard Communications Standards

All employees must be aware of all hazardous chemicals in the workplace, how to stay safe from them, and how to properly store and dispose of them. Often referred to as the “employee's right to know” there are four basic requirements for the hazard communication standard:

  1. Proper employee training.
  2. An extensive laid out plan.
  3. A list of ALL hazardous chemicals used and stored within the facility.
  4. A copy of the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for each individual chemical used or stored at the facility.

2. Bloodborne Pathogens Standards

Maintaining a clean, safe, and sterile working environment is paramount to your medical office's success, and should always be on the forefront of your mind. OSHA has nine basic requirements concerning bloodborne pathogens:

  1. A written plan regarding the potential of an exposure.
  2. Labeling and color-coding for all used materials.
  3. Provide treatment to anyone who may have been exposed to a pathogen.
  4. Safety policies should respect all universal precautions.
  5. Utilize engineering controls such as sharps containers and needless systems.
  6. Offer Hepatitis B treatment free of charge to all employees who are at risk of exposure.
  7. Provide and use all PPE (Personal Protection Equipment). Items like gloves, gowns, masks and goggles.
  8. Instate proper work practice controls to reduce the risk of exposure.
  9. Provide your employees with proper training and maintain training records.

3. Electrical Standards

Thanks to all of the advents and innovations of the 20th century, today's medical offices are filled with all manner of electric machines and equipment. Proper usage is essential to these machine's effectiveness, which is why OSHA has the following requirements:

  1. All staff needs to be trained on the proper usage of all equipment.
  2. Any malfunctioning equipment must be marked “Out of Service.”
  3. All equipment must be tagged with the last inspection date, the next inspection due date, and the inspector's initials.
  4. Equipment can only be used by staff to complete their job.

4. Emergency Exit Standards

While we all hope for the best, we need to be prepared for the worst. America has a long history of implementing safety regulations dating all the way back to the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory disaster of 1911. In order to prevent those kinds of disasters OSHA requires that you provide enough exit routes to accommodate the needs of all employees. Additionally evacuation route diagrams should be posted where they can easily be seen.

5. Ionizing Radiation Standards

Radiation can be a very useful tool, without it we wouldn't have x-ray machines, but it can also be dangerous (just ask Marie Curie). Because of this danger OSHA has four basic requirements regarding radiation:

  1. You should have a survey of all the types of radiation being used.
  2. “Film Badge Required” signs should be placed on rooms and equipment.
  3. Employees working with equipment must wear personal radiation monitors.
  4. Radiation areas should be restricted and accessible only by necessary personnel.

How Can You Be Sure Your Facility is Safe?

When it comes to safety, you can never be too careful. OSHA has many requirements, and their requirements are just the minimum of what you must do, many facilities opt to instill their own more extensive safety measures. If you'd like to ensure your medical office is as safe as it can be, then you should consult a medical waste removal specialist. Here at BWS Regulated Waste Solutions we have helped countless facilities upgrade their medical waste safety precautions, and we can help you too!  

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