An integral part of a medical office manager’s role is to protect the health and safety of employees by preventing illnesses and possible risks associated with hazardous exposure. OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard, also known as HazCom, is the federal regulation that oversees and evaluates the communication of chemical hazards in a work setting.
Protecting Employees From Workplace Hazards
HazCom’s purpose is to communicate chemical hazard information to all employers and employees. It also requires that employees receive the necessary information, proper training regarding workplace hazards, the methods to prevent them, and the OSHA standards that apply to their particular workplace.
Here are five HazCom standards that a Medical Office Manager should evaluate and integrate into the practice operational and safety standards.
- Properly label all chemicals
To comply with OSHA standards all chemicals must have a label and contain the name of the product, the name and contact information of the responsible party, the composition of substances and mixtures, and the recommended use of the chemical.
- Properly label all hazards
The label must also include the hazard or hazards associated with the chemical. OSHA requires the label to include the hazard classification, the signal word, pictograms, a precautionary statement, and a description of unclassified hazards. If applicable a statement of the chemical’s toxicity is required.
- Plan for emergencies
In the event of an accident, fire, or accidental release of chemicals it is important to have measures in place. Write an emergency plan that includes first aid procedures and an evacuation plan. Review and discuss it with your employees. It’s also important to distribute a copy to each employee. Also, have a master copy of the procedures in a place where everyone can access it.
- Take measures to prevent emergencies
When it comes to preventing chemical hazard emergencies, it is necessary to provide your employees with as much information as possible. As you discuss it with them Include information such as proper handling and storage practices, exposure controls and personal protection, physical and chemical properties, stability and reactivity, and toxicology.
- Train employees
Schedule a quarterly meeting to keep your staff up-to-date and ahead of the game on any laws that may affect the handling of hazardous materials. Cover topics such as deciphering the label, chemical and physical hazards in a work area, and how to detect the presence of hazardous materials through odors and visual appearances. Include other topics like emergency procedures for first aid, fire, or accidental release; and the key to understanding material safety data sheets.
Keep up-to-date on hazard communication
PMI’s Certified Medical Office Manager (CMOM)® program will teach you how to navigate OSHA standards and keep your employees safe.