OSHA recently fined a North Texas dental practice over $5,900 for two different violations of the Bloodborne Pathogens standard.
What were the violations?
OSHA asserted that the practice:
1. Did not offer employees the opportunity to be tested after a needlestick injury.
2. Did not train its employees before their initial assignments.
Why was the penalty so high?
If the penalty seems stiff, you might find it less so in light of some sobering statistics worth sharing with your team:
According to the Hepatitis Branch of the CDC, every year:
- An estimated 12,000 healthcare workers exposed to blood become infected by HBV.
- Of those, 500-600 are hospitalized.
- Approximately 250 of them die from acute or chronic consequences.
Two common, dangerous situations; and simple remedies
These violations parallel two situations Smart Training has seen much, much too often in over 700 dental practices it’s inspected around the country.
Using improper personal protective equipment (PPE)
In more offices than Smart Training would like to count, employees refuse to wear utility gloves when working in the sterilization area. By simply wearing these gloves, many needlestick injuries can be prevented.
Employees not receiving the training required for their job description in a timely manner
Remember: OSHA requires employees be trained BEFORE their initial assignments. A large number of accidents occur during the first month or so on the job; so it makes perfect sense that an employee should receive safety training before beginning work.