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QUIZ

Who Has OSHA responsibility for the health & safety of a temp?

What are your OSHA duties to temporary workers (“temps”) whom you hire from a temp agency to work at your medical office? Stated differently, are you or the temp agency responsible for the temp’s health and safety? Here’s a set of scenario quizzes that illustrate how the rules work. SCENARIO 1: RESPONSIBILITY FOR HAZCOM TRAINING The Temps R’Us Agency (Agency) assigns an employee to temporary work at XYZ Medical Office (Office). Agency is aware that Office’s workers handle and use hazardous chemicals for testing operations. But the temp has no Hazcom training whatsoever. As a result, he suffers an injury as a result of exposure to a toxic chemical while working for Office. QUESTION Who’s responsible for providing the temp the required Hazcom training? Agency Office Both Neither ANSWER Both… . . . read more.

WORKPLACE SAFETY

The three laws of sharps safety

By Dan Scungio In Isaac Asimov’s writings about science, he created “the three laws,” a set of rules designed by humans that robots must follow in that fictional society. Robots cannot harm human beings, they must obey humans (unless it conflicts with the first law), and they must protect themselves from harm (unless that conflicts with the first two laws).  With those in place, there should be no issues with the use of robots in society, but bending those laws provided interesting plots for many books and movies. There are three laws for sharps safety as well, but breaking those laws can be far more dangerous for healthcare workers. It is not an exaggeration to call the safety guidelines about medical sharps “laws.” In the United States the Occupational Health… . . . read more.

MANAGING STAFF

Dare we ask our coworkers: Are you safe?

By Lynne Curry bio Question: We have a small eight-person medical admin office. We don’t interact with the patients. Although we’ve worked remotely for the past year, we’ll be moving back into the office in the next few weeks. We’re generally looking forward to it, Most of my coworkers have been vaccinated. We talk on Zoom about how happy we are to have gotten vaccinated and compare side-effect stories. Two of our coworkers don’t participate in these discussions. I suspect they haven’t been vaccinated and don’t intend to get vaccinated. Am I allowed to ask? Is it necessary or appropriate to have different rules regarding masks for different employees; for example, “masks aren’t required unless a meeting includes person “x”? Can we forgo masks all the time and figure any… . . . read more.

WORKPLACE SAFETY

Most of your medical office employees are vaccinated. Now what?

By Lynne Curry bio Most of your office staff have received vaccines. Those who remain unvaccinated either haven’t decided whether they will or have refused to get vaccinated. What’s next? Can you relax your workplace protocols? How do you handle the conflicts between vaccinated and unvaccinated employees and those who differently interpret safety protocols? New CDC guidance In recent weeks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided new COVID-19 guidance for fully vaccinated individuals.1 Fully vaccinated individuals may interact indoors with other vaccinated individuals without wearing masks or physically distancing. Fully vaccinated individuals, except for those who live in a group setting or themselves experience COVID-19 symptoms, no longer need to quarantine and test if they’ve been around someone who has COVID-19.2 Fully vaccinated individuals do need to… . . . read more.

WORKPLACE SAFETY

Pandemic fatigue feels like it’s starting over

By Dan Scungio bio In discussions with healthcare safety professionals across the country this year, some of the same safety issues seemed to crop up over and over. Lab staff are tired, they’re fatigued about dealing with COVID-19, and they just don’t seem to be focused on lab safety anymore. They aren’t following good safety practices, they aren’t wearing gloves, lab coats, masks, or even eye protection. Of course, this is a problem that needs attention. The hazards faced in the workplace are not limited to coronaviruses, and these unhealthy practices can lead to some bad outcomes. Despite the pandemic, this issue with staff is not a new one. Those who have worked in lab settings for years can easily become complacent about safety. They begin to notice over time… . . . read more.

WORKPLACE SAFETY

How to create an enhanced cleaning and disinfection policy for your medical office

In the age of COVID-19, complying with the rigorous hygiene requirements of OSHA and other standards may not be enough. That’s because the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and public health guidelines mandate that work facilities still in operation undertake special enhanced cleaning and disinfection measures. This is particularly the case for healthcare sites. Here are the rules and how to comply. There’s also a Model Policy on this website that you can adapt for use at your own facility. What’s at Stake SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus, spreads by human-to-human contact and can live on a surface or object for up to seven days. The virus can be killed but it takes the right products and procedures. That’s why public health agencies are requiring employers… . . . read more.

TOOL

Model Medical Office Enhanced Cleaning and Disinfection Policy

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and other public health organizations mandate that employers take additional cleaning and hygiene measures during the pandemic. Here’s a Model Policy you can adapt for your own use based on your specific circumstances and applicable local and specialty rules.

Tool: Voluntary COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

It is important to ensure that your medical office staff get vaccinated against COVID-19 to protect not only themselves but also co-workers, patients and others at your facility. But what if workers neglect or just plain refuse to be vaccinated? There are two basic options: Option 1: Require staff to be vaccinated Option 2: Encourage staff to be vaccinated voluntarily Here’s a Model Policy you can use to implement Option 2.

TOOL

Model Social Distancing Policy

As the pandemic drags on, medical offices and other essential businesses that remain open must be scrupulous to ensure employees maintain social distancing both at and away from the workplace. Here’s a Model Policy you can adapt to accomplish that objective in accordance with your specific circumstances and the terms of the latest public health guidelines in effect in your state or city.

MANAGING STAFF

How to prevent the spread of nurse burnout in your healthcare organization

When COVID-19 hit, healthcare teams were called upon to save the world. And they did. But what healthcare leaders didn’t realize was that the battle has just begun for healthcare heroes suffering a severe mental and emotional toll. As COVID-19 cases rise and fall and rise again, so do physician and nurse burnout. “Executive leaders are cutting back on their resources to the point where they have stopped investing in their people. They’ve stopped offering the very same programs that could help their teams protect their physical, emotional, and mental energy to ride this additional wave,” says Dr. Renee Thompson, founder of the Healthy Workforce Initiative,  a global leader in addressing disruptive behavior in healthcare. Dr. Thompson says when things get tough financially, administrators cut back on education and development… . . . read more.


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