Safety management is an important initiative businesses commit to so employees, customers, clients and visitors may feel safe in the workplace. In the health care field, medical offices are charged with the task of ensuring the safety of staff, patients, medical equipment and confidential health records.
Practicing safety in a medical office begins with defining safety as it relates to the work environment. Medical offices should consider what the potential risks and threats are so safety management protocols can be developed to minimize and eliminate those potential risks. OSHA–the Occupational Safety and Health Administration–states that people have the right to a safe work environment, and employers must take the proper precautions to maintain safety in the workplace.
Medical offices can pose certain health and safety risks if not managed appropriately. The Office of Health, Safety and Security explains there are particular safety policies that may apply to medical offices, which fall beneath the category of environmental safety. Environmental safety has to do with maintaining a safe environment for staff and guests. Whether the environment is the waiting room, the exam room or behind the reception area, all places in the medical office must be free from hazardous materials, must not breach any fire safety codes and must comply with licensing regulations, such as making sure that needles are properly disposed. Environmental safety in a medical office can also include ensuring tools are sterilized and rooms are sanitized.
Medical Records Safety
HIPAA, which stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is a federal rule that applies to the protection of health information. Medical offices are required by law to comply with HIPAA standards, which include the safety and protection of patient health files. Securing patient medical files is one of the many HIPAA requirements that medical offices must follow. Therefore, ensuring the safety of health records is a practice medical offices can perform as part of their safety management efforts. Safety measures can include storing patient files in a locked, fireproof room. If files are maintained electronically, having the appropriate computer security systems in place to protect files from being illegally accessed or lost during system failures is another way medical offices can protect health records.
Equipment and Handling Materials in Medical Offices
According to the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI), there are safety standards in medical offices that apply to medical equipment and instruments. AAMI explains medical offices should use graphic symbols and safety signs to post next to equipment that can be potentially dangerous if used incorrectly. Having graphic symbols or safety signs can help to keep medical staff safe from accidents and injuries while on the job. Medical offices can also ensure equipment safety by testing the equipment regularly to make sure the equipment functions correctly.
Some medical offices, depending on the type of treatment they provide, may have hazardous materials or chemicals on the premises. According to OSHA, such hazardous materials must be disclosed to staff so they can avoid contamination and poisoning. OSHA requires a written list of all the hazardous chemicals be on the premises, from cleaning agents to chemical treatments or medication.
|The above is an excerpt from the article, “Medical Office Safety.” For more information, please visit www.ehow.com.|