OSHA Compliance Resources for Medical Practices
The Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration (OSHA) regulates and enforces workplace safety standards in medical practices. In Maryland, the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH) Administration supports those OSHA enforcement efforts and provides supplementary local resources.
MCMS provides an annual in-person OSHA compliance overview, template compliance plans, and on-demand employee training related to the compliance plans. These compliance plans are provided in partnership with OSHA Medical Courses, LLC to offer a one-stop solution to comply with Hazard Communications and Blood Borne Pathogen requirements. Members receive a discount of 50% or more, depending on the product.
Three key OSHA standards apply to medical practices:
1. The Hazard Communication Standard
Implemented in 2016, this standard ensures chemical safety in the workplace by requiring that information about the identities and hazards of the chemicals must be available and - this is key - understandable to workers. Employers are required to train workers on the new labels elements and safety data sheets format to facilitate recognition and understanding. Medical practices must have a Hazard Communications Compliance Plan on-site and provide training to help employees be familiar with the plan.
2. The Bloodborne Pathogens Standard
In order to reduce or eliminate the hazards of occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens, medical practices must implement an exposure control plan for the worksite with details on employee protection measures and must provide annual training to employees. The plan must also describe how an employer will use engineering and work practice controls, personal protective clothing and equipment, employee training, medical surveillance, hepatitis B vaccinations, and other provisions as required by OSHA's Bloodborne Pathogens Standard (29 CFR 1910.1030)
3. Personal Protective Equipment Standards
Personal protective equipment, commonly referred to as "PPE", is equipment worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause serious workplace injuries and illnesses. It is a key protective element for medical practices.
When engineering, work practice, and administrative controls are not feasible or do not provide sufficient protection, employers must provide personal protective equipment to their workers and ensure its proper use. Employers are also required to train each worker required to use personal protective equipment to know:
- When it is necessary
- What kind is necessary
- How to properly put it on, adjust, wear and take it off
- The limitations of the equipment
- Proper care, maintenance, useful life, and disposal of the equipment
Because every practice is unique in the services provided, equipment selected, etc., MCMS recommends creating a custom training program for your practice based on your own procedures. Always document training! An overview addressing these standards is included in our annual in-person OSHA training. The OSHA standard for PPE is 1910 Subpart I - Personal Protective Equipment.
Other Standards That May Apply
Other standards which may apply to select medical practices include the Ionizing Radiation Standard, which regulates safety standards for x-ray machines that emit radiation, and the Ethylene Oxide Standard, which applies to the use of ethylene oxide for the sterilization of medical devices. There is also a Formaldehyde Standard if a practice uses a containing solution for cleaning purposes or employs it for specimen preservation.
- MCMS Enews Feature Article: 5 Compliance Tips from an OSHA Inspector
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Maryland has a free, voluntary on-site consultation service through Maryland Occupational Safety & Health. These visits are confidential, can be full or limited safety and health surveys, provide free testing, have no citations or penalties, provide training assistance to your practice, and is an entry point to the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program.
For more information:
- Call: 410.527.4472
- Fax: 410.527.5678
- Web: www.dllr.state.md.us/labor/mosh/volc.shtml
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