The seriousness of properly handling regulated medical waste can’t be overstated. Failure to comply with federal and state guidelines and regulations creates a health hazard for medical practice employees and patients, and threatens the environment. Special precautions must be taken by anyone who is involved with any step in the medical waste disposal process. Regulated medical waste (RMW) includes blood and items contaminated with blood or any other potentially infectious material. All employees with occupational exposure should receive initial and annual compliance training, including part-time and temporary employees. Below is a list of compliance training courses that infectious waste handlers and other employees need to take in order to maintain the required certifications and to perform their jobs safely. Note: Annual OSHA training is mandatory for all employees and new employees must be trained within ten days of being hired. Most organizations also conduct HIPAA training annually, as a best practice.
Course: Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP)
A simple mistake such as disposing of a contaminated item in the wrong trash container could lead to the spread of an infection. This OSHA course helps prevent that.
Content Covered: • Management of sharps • Development of an exposure control plan • Disposal of RMW (container and labeling requirements) • Communication of hazard to employees
Who Should Take: All employees with a reasonable anticipated risk of exposure (It is your responsibility to determine which job classifications or specific tasks qualify such as: employees providing medical care, housekeepers and janitors, and employees who may administer first aid as a collateral duty to routine work assignments.)
Course: D.O.T. Hazardous Materials Transportation Regulations (HM-181)
You are responsible for your medical waste even after it leaves your facility and need to make sure that your medical waste services provider is properly insured, permitted, and licensed. This DoT course will help decrease your medical facility’s risk.
Content Covered: These rules mostly apply to transporters; however, knowledge of these is important because of the liability associated with waste transported off-site.
Who Should Take: Designated manifest signer, compliance point-person
Course: Fire Prevention and Fire Extinguisher Types
OSHA requires that all employers maintain a fire prevention plan. The plan must be in writing, be kept in the workplace, and be made available to employees for review. However, practices with fewer than 10 employees may communicate the plan orally.
Content Covered: A comprehensive overview of the fire prevention plan and how to identify and correct potential fire hazards.
Who Should Take: All employees
Course: Waste Handling and Classification Regulations
State and federal guidelines are stringent and must be followed to maintain compliance. Also, laws can change frequently, so it’s important to stay updated on the latest regulations. That is why this OSHA course is a necessity for your medical office. The EPA transferred the responsibility for establishing and enforce RMW regulations to the individual states.
Content Covered: Medical waste plan preparation, packaging, labeling
Who Should Take: Compliance point-person, anyone with exposure to RMW
Course: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
What is covered under HIPAA? Any information, whether oral or recorded in any form or medium, that is created.
Content Covered: Learn how to design, implement, and administer a compliance program.
Who Should Take: Anyone who comes in contact with protected health information (PHI), including doctors, nurses, receptionists, and part-time employees and interns.
Course: HIPAA, Social Media & Texting Compliance
Social media can help increase engagement with existing patients and help market your practice to acquire new patients. However, there are compliance risks that you need to know about and procedures to mitigate them.
Content Covered: • Overview of the use of social media in the healthcare environment • Social media benefits and potential risks related to HIPAA • Internal procedures related to HIPAA compliance and how to mitigate risk • Potential consequences of HIPAA violations related to social media
Who Should Take: Anyone who comes in contact with protected health information (PHI), including doctors, nurses, receptionists, and part-time employees and interns. Any employees or contractors who act as social media managers for your practice.
Course: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Wearing the correct PPE helps employees protect themselves and others by minimizing exposure to hazards that cause serious workplace injuries and illnesses. This training is required by OSHA.
Content Covered: Covers the various types of personal protective equipment and how they are used to prevent exposure, including the proper donning (aka dressing) and the safe removal to prevent secondary contamination.
Who Should Take: PPE is required for any potential infectious disease exposure. Any healthcare worker in your medical practice who comes in direct contact with patients should take the course.
Course: Radiation Orientation
Ionizing radiation sources can pose a considerable health risk to health care workers if not properly controlled. OSHA standards provide technical and regulatory information to recognize, evaluate and control health hazards.
Content Covered: Regulations and safety requirements for imaging standards for ionizing radiation, radioactive materials, and the use of X-Ray equipment.
Who Should Take: If your work environment utilizes radiation in any form, your entire staff needs to understand the standards for protection against radiation.
Course: Pharmaceutical Waste Identification, Segregation and Disposal
Your practice’s pharmaceutical waste (drugs that are expired, unused, or contaminated) must be disposed of properly to meet state and federal regulations.
Content Covered: • Review of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) • Classification of pharmaceuticals • Requirements for packaging, labeling, and manifesting pharmaceutical waste
Who Should Take: Pharmacy personnel and anyone signing a hazardous waste manifest.
Course: Hazardous Communication and Chemical Safety (HAZCOM) GHS Standard
According to OSHA standards, your employees have both a need and a right to know the hazards and identities of the chemicals they are exposed to when working. They must also know what measures are in place for their protection.
Content Covered: • Review of Hazardous Communication Program • Protective measures
Who Should Take: Anyone with potential exposure to harmful chemicals.
In addition to maintaining compliance, proper medical waste disposal training is necessary for your medical office to keep employees, patients, and the environment safe. Regardless of whether or not they actually handle medical waste, everyone in your medical practice should receive training on waste classifications to help create a culture of safety and help prevent potentially hazardous situations.
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