The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is tasked with enforcing the federal regulations regarding health and safety. Naturally, safety is of the utmost importance in doctors' offices, and OSHA plays an integral part in ensuring all employees in the medical field comply with safety-related legislation. In large part, this process involves employees completing yearly OSHA trainings.
Important Information Doctors and Office Managers Need to Know Regarding Yearly OSHA Requirements for Doctors Offices
Potential OSHA Trainings for Doctor Offices
Which trainings OSHA requires of you depends on your position and the types of situations you handle in your day-to-day medical profession.
- Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP)
OSHA blood-borne pathogens training is required annually for all clinical healthcare workers. If you ever come in contact with patients in your job, it is required that you take this training each and every year. A course takes about forty-five minutes to complete.
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
Unlike BBP training, HIPAA OSHA training is not required every year. Also unlike BBP training, not all workers are required to undergo this course. Only individuals who work with patient documentation and confidential files need to take this course before commencing work, and it is only recommended that they periodically take a refresher course to stay current on all HIPAA-related laws and regulations.
- Hazard Communication Standard
This training deals with the communication of pertinent information regarding hazardous materials used in the workplace. It helps ensure everyone dealing with hazardous material is fully knowledgeable and aware of the risks and procedures should anything go wrong. As with many of these trainings, it's always a good idea to highly recommend refresher courses for all employees.
- Department of Transportation (DOT) Training
This is highly recommended for anyone who has to sign a bill of lading on the job. The DOT training is going to be required for far less employees than many of the other courses, and it is also quite a bit more in depth and complicated.
Consequences for Doctor Offices Being Out of OSHA Compliance
OSHA fines against doctor offices - OSHA has the authority to levy fines against medical institutions that aren't enforcing these trainings. If an employee has never completed the required trainings (or that employee's trainings are out of date), that facility is putting itself at risk for financial fines.
If noncompliance continues and OSHA discovers this through a subsequent audit, even more severe consequences could occur. If OSHA finds the negligence to be willful and repeated, there is the possibility of the facility being shut down. (Granted, this would only be in cases of extreme negligence. Generally, facilities are given many chances to comply and get all employees up to date with all trainings and requirements.)
Is It Worth the Risk for Doctor Offices Not Being OSHA Compliant?
Especially when it comes to small doctors' offices, there are still many facilities that aren't doing anything related to OSHA doctor office training. This tends to come down to one of two main reasons.
One, the doctor's office is not educated about OSHA compliance. They don't know what courses they are required to take, how often they must take them, or how to go about undergoing these trainings. (If this is the case, working with a professional OSHA compliance training company for doctors' offices is wise. Along with trainings, you'll also be covered for other audit contingencies such as safety plans, exposure plans, fire protection, emergency preparation, online SDS access, and more.)
Two, the office knows what is required of them, but they figure the risk is worth it. They gamble on the chance they won't be audited and be subject to OSHA doctor office fines.
Whether through a lack of knowledge or a knowing noncompliance, doctors' offices have a lot to lose by ignoring OSHA trainings. When compared to thousands of dollars in fines and potentially steeper consequences, the comparatively small fee for trainings is definitely a wise investment.
If you have any questions about yearly OSHA requirements for doctors' offices, what you need to do to get your medical facility current, or the pricing structure for these trainings, please feel free to contact a representative of MCF Environmental Services, a full-service waste management company that offers comprehensive OSHA compliance training for doctor offices.