How to Keep Your Workplace Safe and OSHA-Compliant in 2015
Feb 13, 2015
The Department of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is one of the most prolific agencies in the Department of Labor when it comes to introducing new rules. In fact, in 2014 alone OSHA had 26 regulations in different stages from a proposal to the final rule.
If you operate a healthcare facility, a medical practice or any other business that deals with hazardous materials in any shape or form, you need to stay on top of the OSHA rules if you don’t want to get cited. And as a Maryland medical waste removal company, we consider it our duty at BWS to help our clients remain OSHA-compliant. Below you’ll find some recent updates to OSHA rules, as well as other useful workplace safety tips.
Reporting Requirements – effective January 1, 2015
OSHA updated their recordkeeping rule back in 2014 and it’s effective as of January of this year. In its effort to prevent work-related injuries and make the workplace safer, OSHA now requires employers to be more prompt in reporting any accidents that involve employees. Here is a summary of the rules you should get familiar with and comply with from now on:
- All work-related deaths must be reported within 8 hours of the accident.
- All work-related hospitalizations, amputations and loss of an eye have to be reported within 24 hours of the accident.
Where to report:
- In-person at the nearest OSHA Area Office
- By phone at 1-800-321-6742 (OSHA’s toll-free line)
- Online via an electronic form submission (still in development)
Recordkeeping Rule – effective January 1, 2015
Most employers are required by OSHA to keep accurate records of certain employee injuries and illnesses, regardless of whether they have to be reported or not. This part of the regulations didn’t change, but we’ll recap it here to give you some context.
OSHA has three forms you might need to complete:
- Form 300 is a log of injuries and illnesses
- Form 300A is a summary of the log
- Form 301 is an injury or illness report
Unless you are exempt (we’ll cover this shortly), you have to maintain the log and post the summary on an annual basis, even if no injuries were recorded that year. As you might know, not all injuries and illnesses have to be entered into the log. OSHA only requires you to log the following:
- Injuries/illnesses that result in loss of consciousness, fatality, time off from work, reassignment or restricted work activity, or specialized medical treatment.
- Sharps injuries if the sharp is believed to be contaminated with blood or infectious material.
- Tuberculosis that resulted from exposure to an infected patient.
- Certain hearing problems as detected by the hearing test.
What changed in the recordkeeping rule is the exemptions. If any of the following describes you, you are partially exempt from the requirement to keep routine employee injury and illness records (unless specifically requested in writing by OSHA or BLS to maintain these records):
- Employers with 10 or fewer employees during the previous calendar year
- Organizations in low-risk industries
Keep in mind that even if you qualify for an exemption, this doesn’t mean you are not required to report serious work-related injuries to OSHA. The exemption only covers recordkeeping and not the reporting.
Other Action Items to Keep on Your Radar:
- Make sure all of your employees have received the Hazard Communication Standard training—consider repeating the training to refresh the information.
- Make sure you have a Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plan and that it’s being updated as necessary.
- If you are implementing any safer medical devices in your practice, be sure to document everything you’ve done.
- Ensure your employees can identify biohazardous waste and apply proper disposal procedures.
- Implement safe medical waste reduction practices.
And if you are still looking for a reliable medical waste disposal partner that can guarantee 100% OSHA compliance, BWS is at your service. Just give us a call!
"I’ve been using Biomedical Waste Services, Inc. for nearly 20 years! I’ve had superior customer service since day one with no surprises on our invoices."
- Dr. Kim