October 08, 2021

Three Elements to Combat the Risk of OSHA Violations

Preserving worker safety has never been more important, especially in healthcare settings. Not only is fostering a healthful environment for your staff the right thing to do, but failing to do so can result in costly OSHA violations, low worker morale, and situations that tarnish your reputation.

How can you ensure more consistent OSHA compliance and avoid violations? These three elements can make all the difference. 

#1. Comprehensive Training

Healthcare organizations must train their staff on the hazards they face every day and how to reduce the risks associated with those hazards. Two key areas on which to focus include:

Bloodborne Pathogens

✔  Cover the risks of needlestick injuries, how to prevent them, and what to do if they happen.

✔  Provide training at orientation and at least annually as a refresher. Supplemental training is needed when staff assume new or modified tasks that increase their exposure to risk.

Hazard Communication

✔  Cover the nature of chemical hazards present in the workspace, how employees can protect themselves, how to access safety data sheets, and proper labeling.

✔  Provide training when an employee is initially assigned to a position where there is the potential for hazardous chemical exposure and whenever a new hazard is introduced into their work environment.

Online modules can provide a user-friendly, accessible format for trainings. Tools are updated frequently and also document when training is complete.

#2. In-Depth Safety Plans

Healthcare organizations must create and maintain the following worker safety documents that detail how OSHA requirements are met:

✔   Exposure Control Plan—how to prevent and respond to bloodborne pathogen exposure if it does occur.

✔   Hazard Communication Program—how to share information about workplace hazards, including dangerous chemicals.

✔   Injury and Illness Prevention Program—how to find and fix potential safety risks before they can harm staff.

✔   Emergency Preparedness Plan—how to respond to emergencies, including general preparedness, as well as specific disaster response, such as fire and extreme weather events.

✔   Recordkeeping and Reporting—how to document serious, work-associated employee injury or illness.

The good news is you don’t have to create these plans from scratch. Resources like Stericycle’s Safety Plan Builder can serve as a starting point for plan updates or creation, ensuring documents are thorough and relevant.

#3. Accessible Safety Data Sheets

Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) communicate a range of information about hazardous chemicals, including properties, potential hazards, and any safety precautions that should be followed when handling the material.

You must have an SDS for each hazardous chemical in your inventory and make sure the information is readily accessible in the work area for staff who could come in contact with the chemical.

To simplify this process, you can leverage a comprehensive online database that includes regularly updated SDSs for a wide variety of dangerous chemicals.

Learn more about how Stericycle can help you strengthen OSHA compliance efforts.

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