OSHA and the Dental Hygienist’s Role



Established in 1971, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) primary mission is workplace safety in all industries. While many of the OSHA regulations apply to dentistry, dental professionals focus mainly on the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard (Section 1030) and the Hazard Communication Standard (Section 1200).

As a practicing hygienist, you already know that OSHA compliance frequently lands in your lap whether you want it to or not. Once you have managed OSHA compliance in one practice, future employers almost automatically defer to you as the OSHA/Safety Coordinator. Sounds simple, right? After all, you created a notebook, provided annual staff training and occasionally attended a CE course to stay updated. The truth is, maintaining optimum compliance is an ongoing process requiring current knowledge, time and resources.

One OSHA rule that recently changed is the Hazard Communication Standard. Historically, this standard required you to have current Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) on file for every chemical in the office as well as a current Chemical Inventory List. In 2012, OSHA adopted the Globally Harmonized System for Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, also known as GHS. This new system requires, among other things, that you replace the old MSDS with the new Safety Data Sheets (SDS). Implementation of GHS spans the period from December 1, 2013 – the deadline for initial employee training – to June 1, 2016 – the final date in which employers must have the new Safety Data Sheets and updated Chemical Inventory Lists in place. Remember, a Chemical Inventory List is not simply a list of the products you have in stock; it’s a list of the chemicals in those products.

The truth is, changing laws and rules create competing priorities for your valuable patient time, leaving you little time to monitor old MSDS and new SDS, much less update the Chemical Inventory List each time a new product is received. Why not leverage technology to improve compliance and maximize your patient care time? Sounds logical, right? After all, you utilize digital radiographs, intraoral cameras and electronic patient records to enhance the quality of care you provide.

AutoSDS can help maintain SDS and the Chemical Inventory List automatically. Sign up and watch your overstuffed, outdated MSDS binder turn into a streamlined, customized electronic SDS binder that automatically updates itself. And with a single keystroke, you can create a custom Chemical Inventory List for your practice upon demand. Most importantly, it will free up precious time better spent on patient care. Why not master several of the GHS requirements by leveraging AutoSDS in your practice? It removes guesswork and keeps you completely up to date, which translates into no fines for noncompliance. Imagine having the most accurate SDS information at your fingertips and more time to care for your patients!

 

2 comments on “OSHA and the Dental Hygienist’s Role

    • Hi Brandi, thank you for reading, and for your interest! A Patterson representative from our technology center will be reaching out to you shortly via email with the information you requested. Please let us know if there is anything else we can help with.

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