Healthcare providers are responsible for ensuring that the workplace is safe for patients and employees. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is charged with enforcing safety and health regulations in the workplace. OSHA provides guidelines and standards for healthcare professionals to follow to create safe offices. OSHA assists healthcare professionals in providing safe workplaces for their employees.
OSHA Guidelines For Healthcare Providers
OSHA created specific standards and guidelines for healthcare providers to follow to make sure that safe offices are maintained. They include but aren’t limited to the following:
- Hazard Communication Standard: All healthcare providers must have a Hazard Communication Program. This program identifies hazardous chemicals and communicates them to the workers. These programs should contain information about proper storage, handling, and disposal.
- Standard for Bloodborne Pathogens: All healthcare providers must have an Exposure Control Plan. This plan outlines how they will prevent their patients from being exposed to bloodborne pathogens. It should outline procedures and guidelines for employees regarding the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as how to handle contaminated materials.
- Electric Safety: Health care providers must ensure that all electrical equipment is grounded and properly maintained to avoid electrical shocks or fires. Safety practices should also be taught to employees, including ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), and avoiding damage.
- To prevent injuries and musculoskeletal problems, healthcare providers must assess the ergonomic risks in their workplace. These could include providing ergonomic workstations or adjusting work tasks in order to minimize repetitive motions.
- Respiratory Protection is something healthcare professionals should offer to their employees when they work with dangerous materials such as infectious diseases or chemicals. Fit testing, training, maintenance, and certification of respirators are all part of the respiratory protection program.
OSHA: Healthcare Providers Help to Ensure Safety at Work
OSHA has many services and resources to assist healthcare professionals in ensuring workplace safety. They include:
- OSHA offers compliance assistance to healthcare professionals. OSHA’s free consultation services are available on-site. These services help identify hazards in the workplace and create effective safety programs. Consultations are confidential, and don’t result in any citations.
- OSHA Training and Education offers free education and training programs in a range of safety topics at work, including hazardous substances, bloodborne pathogens, ergonomics and hand hygiene. They are both online and available in-person.
- OSHA Standards and Regulations. OSHA creates and enforces safety regulations and workplace health rules, as well as those that are specific for healthcare providers. These standards give clear guidelines on what healthcare providers need to do in order to keep their office safe.
- OSHA enforces safety regulations by inspecting workplaces. These regulations can be violated by healthcare providers and could result in penalties or citations.
Healthcare providers are responsible for ensuring safety in the workplace of their patients. OSHA offers guidelines, standards and resources to assist healthcare professionals in achieving this goal. OSHA guidelines can be followed and resources used by healthcare providers to create safe offices for employees, customers, and partners.