Health System Conference Tips: Ace OSHA Hotspots in Your Healthcare Setting

If you’re responsible for ensuring that your hospital, nursing home, or other medical facility complies with OSHA regulations, read this healthcare training article and get an overview of the regs you must be following.

OSHA VPP or voluntary program allows facilities to work together with OSHA, they help you out to develop programs and healthcare training and policies. You do a little bit extra and you get a star for your extra credit.

But the other thing that you get is your exempt from routine OSHA inspection. So people like that and there are a few hospital systems that actually have gone to the effort of being of VPP.

You  must be aware of the different healthcare guidelines on different types of fines: other-than-serious, serious, repeat, failure to correct and willful violations. It's the willful violations that get the employers in big trouble. They can actually have criminal penalties and go to jail.

You'll see a lot of these. There's $7,000 for each violation. Again, if you get that cut in half, that's $3,500. But then, if there's multiple instances of a certain issue, those $7,000 can start adding up. And that's why you see these million dollar OSHA fines. Because they might say, you know, you didn’t have lockout/tagout but there's 50 machines that didn’t have it. And so now you got 50 times $7,000 each.

All right, so let's get back a little bit to the inspection procedure healthcare rules. When OSHA does walk through the door, one of the first things you're going to do is do an opening conference. Then they're going to go and look at your recordkeeping, the 300 Log, they'll look at posters so make sure you have that OSHA poster up.

And then they finally go to – they do their walk-thru, they'll sample with their pumps and monitors if they need it. And then, at the end of the day or the end of the week or however longer there, they do a closing conference and they tell you what they found. That's just in general what they do.

You – if you got your paperwork up to date, if you got your safety policies altogether which is something a lot of hospitals have because of Joint Commission, thankfully, they've got all those safety programs. And then, particularly your healthcare training records for that. You should be in good shape for that.

Many of the standards do actually have specific requirements so they're going to be looking specifically for that. You always have a duty to inform and training employees of the hazards of the workplace.

Maintain records for five years in general. If you look at some of the specific standards like the PPE standards or the lockout/tagout or even the forklift training, they'll require training records to be kept for five years. Now that's not medical records, that's not – if you monitor someone for exposure to a chemical, that's all 30 years or length of employment plus 30 years for the medical.

A lot of people don’t realize that OSHA does have some fire safety requirements. Mostly, it's just egress fire plan requirements. If you're following NFPA, Joint Commission, Life Safety Code, you probably are fine. But don’t be surprised if an OSHA inspector does ask about exiting or about your fire plan.

And probably the only thing we've ever heard or seen an OSHA inspector cite a hospital on it, they didn’t – they wanted smoking signs and “no smoking” signs in the paint spray booth. That's sort of a big thing for them. And of course – and that's even for a hospital that has “no smoking”. So if you do have paint spray booth in your facility, make sure you have a little “no smoking” sign.

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