Dental Practice: OSHA Back to Basics

Posted by niche on Feb 11, 2008


• What needs to be in your OSHA/Infection Control/X-Ray Manual

There many elements to running a successful dental practice. Everyone in the dental office from dentist to hygienist should be part of providing a safe environment for your team, your practice, and your patients. Following are the basic elements to consider and develop to make this possible.

Your dental office manual should have four sections:
  1. An exposure control plan, which addresses blood-borne pathogens
  2. Hazardous communication
  3. Dental x-ray protocol
  4. Dental staff training
Your exposure control plan should consist of policies and details on how your dental office handles:
  • Standard Precautions
  • Engineering and Work Practice Controls
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Hepatitis B Vaccine
  • Exposure incident protocol
The hazard communication standard is a written policy on:
  • Regulated waste – what is considered regulated waste and what can go in the regular trash or down the drain.
  • Sharps containers – what is to go in them and what doesn’t
  • Contaminated laundry
  • Hazardous materials – MSDS’s, labeling containers and master chemical list

Your dental x-ray protocol should be very office specific. For example, what type of film holders used, lead aprons, film badges and how often are the chemicals changed in the processor?

Your dental office protocol should address: staff holding patients, patients holding films, how to handle equipment malfunctions, when test films are done and proper recordkeeping.

Annual dental team training is required. Topics that must be covered include the explanation of the exposure control plan along with modes of transmission of blood-borne pathogens with their symptoms, the office post-exposure follow up program, hazard communication standard and the office dental x-ray protocol with radiation safety.

Remember to document EVERYTHING! If it is not in writing, it didn’t happen.

Review Leanne's Dental Background & Visit Her Website.

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