OSHA Review: Top 5 Ways to Stay OSHA Compliant

Whether you work in a medical lab, private practice, hospital setting, funeral home, or veterinary office, there are a set of rules in place to help maintain OSHA compliance.

Whether you work in a medical lab, hospital, tattoo parlor, or a veterinary office, there are a set of rules in place to help maintain OSHA compliance.

Facilities that generate hazardous waste are one of the most dangerous places to work, which is why the Occupational and Safety Health Administration (OSHA) has outlined procedures and protocols to help with workplace health, safety, and environmental needs. OSHA oversees health management systems to protect not only medical staff, but patients as well.

Hazards are broken into separate categories under OSHA standards, including, but not limited to chemical hazards and waste disposal management. To be OSHA compliant, one must minimize the exposure to chemical and medical waste hazards and implement a medical waste acceptance protocol based on local and federal laws.

Facilitating a medical waste removal program is part and parcel to OSHA compliance. Here are just a few tips to keep your health facility OSHA compliant with your medical waste management.

Implement and maintain emergency action plans

Under OSHA standards, it is required that your employees must be aware of the emergency medical waste action plan. If you operate a laboratory, communicate procedures for dealing with spills, and make appropriate spill response equipment and materials available. For health care facilities, be aware of how to deal with body fluids, including blood, as this is considered potentially contaminated with pathogens and germs. How will your team respond to the spill and prevent the spreading of contaminants?

Make sure employees have the ability to protect themselves

This includes designating a restricted area to limit employees exposure to hazardous materials. Label and equip with caution signs, and also have equipment available for personal protection.

Create a bloodborne pathogens standard

On November 6, 2000, President Bill Clinton signed into law the bloodborne pathogens standard (BBP) by way of the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act. This is a federal law, and it requires the use of standard precautions where occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials occur. Because of its potential to contaminate, it is imperative that managers protect employees from bloodborne pathogen exposure. This includes having a written exposure control plan, and providing training to the exposed employees while complying with the required standards.

Communicate through signs and labels

Warning labels must be visible on containers of regulated waste, including containers of contaminated reusable sharps, refrigerators and freezers containing blood, other containers used to store, transport, or ship blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM), and contaminated equipment that is being shipped or serviced. Red bags and red containers may also be used, as red bag waste is indicative of hazardous waste.

Train regularly

Employers must ensure that their workers receive regular training that covers all elements of OSHA standards, including information on bloodborne pathogens and diseases, methods used to control occupational exposure, and medical evaluation and post-exposure follow-up procedures. Employers must offer this training on initial assignment, at least annually, and when new or modified tasks or action plans are implemented.

The list of procedures, processes, and safe-handling instructions for OSHA compliance are long and complex, but medical waste professionals are equipped to help healthcare facilities deal with compliance training. Red Bags’ OSHA compliance program can help your facility understand the ins and outs of medical waste removal and keeping your staff safe.

Contact Red Bags today to discuss an OSHA training program, and to learn about our equipment and routine services to remove medical waste to keep you and your facility compliant.

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