Remember OSHA?

Everybody talks about HIPAA lately but it seems OSHA has been forgotten topic of interest. So do you know that the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) imposes guidelines and rules designed to protect you on the job?

For example, OSHA has rules to protect medical office staff against getting certain infectious diseases, such as hepatitis B. So ask yourself: Do I ever help out in the clinical area by cleaning the lab or taking patients back? Even if the answer is that you only do such things rarely, you should consider getting the hepatitis B vaccination series. While OSHA doesn’t require receptionists who don’t have patient care contact or duties to get the hepatitis B vaccination, some offices are offering it to these personnel.

Front desk staff who have direct patient contact (rooming patients or working in the lab) must follow their office’s policies and procedures for wearing gloves and protective equipment, such as goggles, gowns, masks and, in some cases, even respirators. OSHA requires offices to provide this equipment for staff to protect themselves against communicable diseases.

Your office should have an eyewash station for staff who might splash or rub something hazardous into their eyes. In your case, that might include ink or liquid paper or a cleaning solvent. So make sure you know where the eye wash station is and how to use it.

In addition, you and your office should pay attention to ergonomics, which can prevent back and neck injuries and what’s known as “repetitive motion” injuries. The latter usually only occur when someone does intensive data entry or types on the keyboard many hours every day. To prevent such problems, make sure your workstation is comfortable and doesn’t strain your back, neck or arms unnecessarily. For example, you don’t want a chair that requires you to hunch over the keyboard or a keyboard that’s too high or low.

You can also help prevent injuries by taking mini stretch breaks throughout the day. OSHA has information on ergonomic solutions for computer workstations available at:

Have questions? I’m here to help.

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