The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a federal agency that deals with the enforcement of safety and health-related issues within the workplace. When a doctor’s office is found to not be in compliance with the regulations established by OSHA, it is absolutely within OSHA’s powers to levy fines against that doctor’s office. Repeated noncompliance can also lead to OSHA enforcing even stricter fines or more dire consequences.
Important Information for Doctor Offices to be OSHA Compliant
How to Avoid OSHA Fines
The best way for your doctor’s office to avoid OSHA fines is by ensuring all personnel complete and comply with the mandated OSHA trainings. Also note that some of these Doctor Office OSHA trainings are required every year, so it’s not just a matter of doing an OSHA training once and being covered for your career in the medical industry. Specifically the blood-borne pathogen training must be completed every year, and the other trainings are ideally updated often too as new information and new interpretations of that information become available.
What’s Required of a Doctor Office to be OSHA Compliant ?
Every doctor’s office needs to do and have a litany of items to be in full OSHA compliance and avoid fees and other consequences. This includes (but is not limited to):
• Ensuring all personnel members complete the required training (initially and annually) before being allowed to work, including yearly training on blood-borne pathogens.
• Having safety plans in place for a wide variety of emergency preparedness contingencies. This includes fire safety plans and fire prevention plans, exposure control plans, and more.
• Training for and enforcing hazard communications (hazcom).
• Enforcing the use of 300 forms (filled out to log any injury or illness) and similar paperwork.
What Are the Extent of the OSHA Fines for Doctor Offices?
OSHA fines are largely financial in nature. However, OSHA is authorized to impose steeper consequences, which could include taking away a business license and thereby revoking the ability to serve as a medical facility.
If a doctor’s office or hospital is found to be out of compliance, that office or institution does get the opportunity to make itself compliant. Typically it would only be after multiple failures to comply that OSHA would step in and take further action.
Regardless, hospitals and doctors’ offices alike need to be aware these contingencies are a possibility. OSHA has this power and can wield it if you, your staff, or your institution is found lacking in specified matters of compliance.
Types of OSHA Violations for Doctor Offices
A violation is typically considered one of these four categories:
• Willful: The employer was aware of the requirements and still chose not to comply.
• Serious: A workplace hazard was serious enough to cause injury or serious physical harm to a member of staff, patient, or other individual.
• Repeated: The same (or very similar) violation is cited multiple times within a specified span of time.
• Other-than-serious: The violation is still a health and/or safety issue, but it is not dangerous enough to be considered “serious.”
What If OSHA Compliance Regulations Are Confusing or Overwhelming?
It’s perfectly normal to be at least a little unsure about all the ins and outs of full OSHA compliance, and with consequences being potentially very high (either in terms of fines or the lack of safety inherent in not complying), it’s a good idea to reach out to a company that provides OSHA compliance training.
These companies are well versed in the latest OSHA requirements (which are constantly changing and evolving) and can help ensure your medical facility is as up to date as possible. They can also provide valuable resources such as generic templates for fire prevention plans, evacuation plans, and more. These services also often facilitate self-audits where you can walk through step by step and see where you are and are not in compliance.
For more information about how these companies can help get your medical facility in full compliance, please contact a representative of MCF Environmental Services, a OSHA compliant training company for Doctors and Hospitals.