OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that The University Hospital, Cincinnati, which is part of the Health Alliance,has agreed to enhance safety and health protection for its workers by providing newly developed devices to prevent needlestick injuries to the employees. The agreement was a result of a complaint inspection which was conducted at this tertiary care medical center hospital in Cincinnati.
Two issues addressed by the OSHA inspection were the sections of OSHA's bloodborne pathogens standard which call for employers to: evaluate on a regular schedule, existing and available engineering controls designed to eliminate or minimize employee exposures to blood or other potentially infectious fluids; and obtain and use safer engineering controls and needle devices such as self-sheathing needles, spring loaded needles, blunt suture needles and vacutainers with built-in safety shields.
These devices are the result of developments which have occurred in recent years in regard to the variety, quality and effectiveness of engineering controls which are designed to prevent accidental punctures of employee skin by needles which have been in contact with patient blood. As a result, a formal settlement agreement between The University Hospital and OSHA has been reached which can greatly reduce the frequency of accidental employee exposure incidents to patient blood, and which may prevent the transmission of potentially fatal bloodborne pathogens such as the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), and the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV).
OSHA Regional Administrator, Michael G. Connors, stated, "The University Hospital has assumed a leadership role to use newly developed devices to protect their employees from needlestick injuries. As the use of safer devices becomes more widespread throughout the health care industry, transmissions of bloodborne pathogenic disease to employees will decline across the nation."
William M. Murphy, area director for the Cincinnati OSHA office commented, "I am pleased that the highest levels of management of University Hospital have made the decision and the commitment to dedicate their resources to the study, evaluation, procurement and use of engineering controls such as safer needle devices which are likely to lead to decreases in the number of accidental needlestick injuries. Our agreement will result in University Hospital employees being protected by state of the art advances in medical device design to reduce their potential exposure to bloodborne pathogens."
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