This article was originally posted at some time between 2015 and September, 2020. It is being re-posted now as part of our website reconstruction. Some of the dates mentioned in this article may reference the time period from which it was originally posted.
Two dental clinics in northeast Illinois, about an hour north of Chicago, were the unfortunate recipients of a $53,900 OSHA fine. Both clinics are under the same ownership.
Lakemoor Dental P.C., in Lakemoor Illinois, and Lakemoor Dental of Hainsville, in Hainsville, Illinois were inspected by Federal OSHA’s North Chicago office. The inspection was prompted by a complaint. Investigators found a worker suffered a sharps injury at the Hainesville location on March 9, 2016.
OSHA issued 11 serious violations and four other-than-serious violations to Lakemoor Dental P.C. after conducting inspections at the company’s Lakemoor and Hainesville, Illinois, offices.
The investigation revealed that the employer:
- Did not establish bloodborne pathogen exposure control plan and hazard communication programs at either location.
- Failed to require the use of appropriate gloves and personal protective equipment.
- Did not provide medical evaluation and follow-up to employees after an exposure incident.
- Failed to make Hepatitis B vaccination series available to employees.
- Did not train workers about chemical and bloodborne pathogen hazards and precautions.
OSHA has specific guidelines to protect healthcare workers in the medical and dental offices who may be exposed to bloodborne pathogens while providing patient care,” said Angeline Loftus, OSHA’s area director for its Chicago North office in Des Plaines. “Dental offices like Lakemoor have a responsibility to ensure patients and staff are protected from injury and illness during procedures.”
OSHA’s bloodborne pathogen standard (29 CFR 1910.1030) applies to any employee in any industry who has potential exposure to human blood and/or Other Potentially Infectious Materials. In summary, the employer must develop a written exposure control plan which identifies the job titles and classes which have exposure, provide them with appropriate Personal Protective Equipment, training, an opportunity to be vaccinated against Hepatitis B, and evaluate exposure incidents.
But another regulation which applies to dentistry settings and which is often overlooked, is the Hazard Communication standard, which applies to any employee who has exposure to any hazardous substances, such as those used in dentistry. In Minnesota, the law also covers harmful physical agents, like heat, noise and radiation including X-rays.
If you need help developing either of these programs, or providing the mandatory training, please be sure to call us at (612)597-6463. We work with companies all over the country to develop customized compliance programs that meet or exceed OSHA requirements, for only about $100 each.