OSHA Regulations In Dentistry

OSHA Regulations In Dentistry: Infection Control

Dental team members often take it pretty seriously to make sure that their patient records follow OSHA regulations in dentistry for documentation of patient treatment.

These are important elements of risk management in healthcare settings — but beyond the required documentation for clinical treatment and financial transactions for patient care, there are other types of documentation that are required for dental practices, but the biggest beast to tackle is OSHA compliance and infection prevention and control documentation.

Protecting your dental practice from OSHA regulations in dentistry and potential OSHA violations are pretty high on the list of priorities for most dental teams... so, how do you know if your dental office is prepared for an OSHA visit?

Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information, Done Desk is not responsible for any errors and omissions, or anyone’s interpretations, applications, and changes of regulations described. This isn’t a substitute for review of the applicable regulations and standards, and should not be construed as legal advice.

Q: "How often do licensed dental staff (dentists/hygienists) have to have OSHA training?"

A: Training for OSHA is required annually per federal guidelines!

Okay, let’s take a peek at some main elements of compliance documentation, but first, we’ll clarify the difference between OSHA rules and CDC guidelines for the sake of your sanity. 

  • OSHA rules have the force of law and are meant to protect the safety of employees. Failure to comply can result in citations and fines.
  • The CDC is recognized as the federal agency that establishes safety recommendations for both patient and employee safety. Not all CDC rules are mandatory or can get you fined for noncompliance.

Cool? Cool. 

According to OSHA, the most critical documents that a dental practice must have in place are safety plans for exposure control, hazard communication, and general workplace safety. The CDC guidelines also recommend that the practice have a written infection control and prevention plan.

By the way — speaking of OSHA Regulations In Dentistry — here are 10 Metrics That Matter For Professional Liability Insurance and Malpractice Insurance. You can never be too safe out there, friends.

Your exposure control plan should always detail ALL of the protocols that your practice follows to prevent the exposure of employees to bloodborne and other infectious diseases. A common error that we’re seeing some practices make is just adopting the exposure control plan that comes with their compliance manual. Many times, they will simply fill in the blanks for the practice information (name, address, etc.) and call it good.

Hey, if you only take away one thing from this post today it’s that you shouldn’t do that.

These plan templates must be customized for each practice setting, detailing things such as protocols for treatment room decontamination, instrument reprocessing, and handling of potentially infectious waste. The safety plans must be reviewed and updated at least annually, according to OSHA.

Like all of us, your friendly neighborhood OSHA inspector has a job to do. Don’t assume that your practice is in compliance. Never ASSUME… it makes an ASS out of U and ME. Hah. Seek outside help from an experienced dental compliance consultant if you’re unsure what records you must maintain, or whether your training and program are sufficient.

Compliance is a requirement, not voluntary. Make sure your program is comprehensive. You don’t want to spend an extensive amount of time with the OSHA Inspector, do you?

OSHA maintains a listing of the most frequently cited standards for specified 6-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes. Please refer to OSHA’s Frequently Cited OSHA Standards page for additional information. For Offices Of Dentists, use NAICS code 621210 in the NAICS search box. For Medical And Dental Laboratories, use 621511 in the NAICS search box.

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