Sidekick - Volume 2, 2019 - 52

What Your Staff Needs to Know About OSHA
OSHA's primary concern is the safety of your dental team
members, which would include all assistants, hygienists,
doctors, and business office staff. Compliance with OSHA
regulations makes the workplace safer for everyone, and this
should be emphasized when you discuss the need for yearly
OSHA training with your team.
Assign Responsibility
To begin your compliance efforts, select a staff member to be your
Safety Compliance Coordinator (SCC). A trusted and organized
dental assistant, hygienist, or office manager is suggested. The
SCC should review and implement one step at a time, using the
following outline.

Bloodborne Disease Pathogens Standard
Requirements include having a written Exposure Control Plan,
providing the Hepatitis B immunization at no cost to exposed
employees, and making available personal protective equipment
(mask, gloves, safety eyewear, long-sleeved protective clothing).
In addition, employees must have inter-departmental meetings
at least annually to consider safer medical devices. Employees
must understand the modes of transmission for bloodborne
diseases such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and HIV. They must also
know what to do in the event of a needle stick or other exposure
incidents and have access to proper follow-up medical care.
Electrical Safety
Dental facilities make considerable use of electrical devices
including autoclaves, instrument washers, ultrasonic cleaners,
model trimmers, lathes, and curing lights. It is important that no
extension cords be used, that plugs and cords are checked for
wear/intact insulation and that plugs match their outlets (e.g.,
three-pronged). In addition, cords should not be twisted around
each other but should run in parallel.
Ionizing Radiation
OSHA regulations require an employer to evaluate their facility
for any potential radiation hazard and provide employees with
the appropriate training and monitoring equipment. While some
states require the wearing of radiation badges by dental workers,
others do not. It is recommended though, that workers who take
radiographs wear monitoring badges.
Ventilation
Ventilation in the dental office is very important, as a variety of
potentially hazardous substances can become airborne and cause
illness or injury. One of the best recommendations is to put the

52 | Sidekick | Vol. 2 2019

heating/cooling system fan in the "on" position during working
hours to allow for adequate turnover of air in the office. In addition,
encourage the use of high volume evacuation during restorative
procedures or any other procedures involving rotary instruments.
If working with monomers or other volatile liquids in the lab, use
the vent fan or hood. For those offices that use nitrous oxide,
remember to use your scavenger system and test for nitrous levels
in the air on a quarterly basis.
Medical and First Aid
The requirements include having medical personnel available
to provide emergency care if needed or to have an employee(s)
trained in first aid available during working hours. A first aid kit
should be available for self-aid, as well as a CPR Microshield to
use when performing resuscitation. Remember to have emergency
numbers posted on the phone and to have an eyewash station
installed for flushing of the eyes.
Protection and Peace of Mind
Achieving compliance with OSHA regulations not only protects your
employees but mitigates the risk you have as a business owner.
About the Author: Karson L. Carpenter practices dentistry in
Farmington Hills, Michigan and serves as president of Compliance
Training Partners, a company dedicated to compliance issues in
the dental office.

Karson L. Carpenter, DDS

President, Compliance Training Partners

"

"

Hazard Communication Standard
The Hazard Communication Standard deals with hazardous
chemicals in the workplace. In dentistry these include:
disinfectants, restorative materials, acids, cleaners, impression
materials, etc. The Standard requires a written chemical safety
plan, material safety data sheets for each hazardous chemical/
product, labeling of these potentially hazardous products and
training of employees who are exposed to them.

Compliance with OSHA regulations makes
the workplace safer for everyone.



Sidekick - Volume 2, 2019

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