Infection prevention is critical in health care. The spread of a bloodborne pathogen, like Hepatitis C, is still a risk for professionals and patients alike. A sterile environment is necessary for every patient seen to prevent infectious outbreaks. Dental offices that follow appropriate daily guidelines for infection prevention will do their part to prevent such outbreaks.
What Infection Control Protocols Should my Office Put in Place?
Many practices deal with blood or other bodily fluids infiltrating their space. It is paramount to install protocols and practices to ensure dental staffs are preventing the spread of bloodborne pathogens, which protect themselves and patients in the event of an infection emergency. While sanitation is, of course, a priority, the fundamental elements of infection prevention include:
Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is equipment that will protect your staff against health or safety risks in the dental office due to blood, body fluids, and other hazardous materials being present on a daily basis. Based on Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) regulations, employers must provide appropriate PPE for employees and ensure that PPE are either disposable or, if reusable, are cleaned, laundered, repaired, and stored.
It’s also important to note that CDC guidelines about the removal of protective gear changed in 2014 after two nurses contracted Ebola. This protocol is currently employed by Doctors Without Borders, and offices that follow these recent guidelines are implementing vital infection prevention procedures in their practices.
For more information, follow the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP) Safest Dental Visit Guide and specifically the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Use of Tuberculocidal Disinfectant Spray
OSHA’s Bloodborne pathogens standard at 29 CFR 1910.1030 requires that items and surfaces contaminated with blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) be immediately decontaminated with an appropriate disinfectant, and at the end of the work shift if the surface may have become contaminated since the last cleaning.
While soap and water may be appropriate for general cleaning purposes, it is not appropriate for decontamination of blood or OPIM. EPA-registered tuberculocidal disinfectants are appropriate for this purpose. including tuberculocidal intermediate-level disinfectants for removing blood from surfaces and knowing how to treat surfaces and when to use low, intermediate, and high-level disinfectants.
Please be aware that under OSHA’s Hazard Communication standard (29 CFR 1910.1200), employers must maintain material safety data sheets (MSDSs), provide training and the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for all chemicals that pose a health hazard to their employees.
OSHA estimates that 5.6 million healthcare workers are at risk of occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens. Each year, an estimated 384,000 skin puncture injuries are sustained from needles and other sharp devices – that’s more than 1,000 each day!
As a dental professional, you want to minimize the risk of injury to your staff and liability to your practice through OSHA recommended BMPs for sharps handling and disposal. HealthFirst has provided a helpful infographic and compliance guide on the subject, which can be found on the following link.
Sterilization of all Dental Equipment as Recommended by the Manufacturer
follow ADA recommendations and CDC guidelines for proper dental equipment sterilization and OSAP FAQs regarding sterilization of instruments & equipment. Following CDC guidelines for proper testing of sterilizers using biological monitoring strips on a weekly basis.
Third Party Spore Testing and Reporting Services
Dental offices benefit from incorporating weekly mail-in biological monitoring services into their practice. Not only is it recommended by the CDC, but it utilizes outside test labs to properly test and provide 3rd-party documentation that proper sterilization of dental equipment is achieved in your practice. We also recommend to use a service (Such as BIOlogical by HealthFirst) that also provides online interfaces. This allows you to log into your personal account and produce compliance documentation and sterility reports at any given time you need to provide documentation to local authorities .
Need Additional Information: HealthFirst Can Help
HealthFirst’s customer support team is always ready to help you to get the right products and solutions in place for your specific needs in the help of preventing infectious outbreaks. Whether if it’s help with Boodborne Pathogen Training for your staff, OSHA-approved sharps and medical waste mailback solutions, or mail-in spore testing with online compliance reporting.
Feel free to call us at 800-331-1984, or email us.
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