June is National Safety Month, and all across the country, the National Safety Commission is urging everyone to take a look at their environment and ensure that safety standards are being met. What does this mean for you as a physician? As every office and practice is different, it could mean a lot of different things, but here are a few things that you should go over as you’re inventorying the safety of your practice.
OSHA Compliance & Staff Training
OSHA regulations are a great jumping off point when it comes to office and workplace safety. Reviewing the many regulations that are in place for medical practices and ensuring that you are in compliance will give you a safer place to work and you won’t get hit with expensive fines.
Ensure that you have the proper equipment in place and your staff is following all guidelines for handling blood and other bodily fluids for their safety and the safety of others.
Review the hazardous materials in your office and make sure that everyone is aware of what they are and where they are stored, as well as how to handle them.
If your office uses x-ray or other radiation technology, ensure that all systems are up to date, well-maintained and functioning properly. All staff should be trained in the proper procedures for limiting exposure to radiation and regular checks for compliance should be in place.
Update your evacuation plan to ensure that changes to the layout in the building or relocated furniture has not rendered and evacuation route useless. Post evacuation routes in both patient and staff areas in a visible location.
Observe your staff and co-workers and pay close attention to their personal habits when it comes to things that are safety concerns. Proper lifting, careful disposal of sharps, protecting medications, and keeping workspaces neat and organized are just a few of the issues that should be noted and addressed if there is an issue.
Protect Your Patients
Check furnishings in waiting areas and ensure that they are sturdy and in good repair.
Ensure that there are sanitation procedures in place and that they are used regularly to clean surfaces, toys, and other items that may harbor germs.
Inspect outlets throughout the office and ensure that they are covered to protect all – especially your littlest – patients.
Check entries, exits, and any walkways for any obstructions or tripping hazards.
Review storage for all dangerous chemicals, bodily fluids, sharp instruments, and medications to ensure that things are locked up and out of reach of children, particularly in exam rooms and other areas that are easily accessible to patients. Ensure that staff and coworkers are taking great care to keep these items under lock and key.
There are many more areas that may need to be addressed in your office or workspace. Use these suggestions to help spark a deeper investigation into what safety checks your office may require. Stay safe!