The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released updates in June to its recommendations and stipulations with regard to dental professionals.
Following OSHA guidelines helps protect both your staff and your patients from a variety of health and safety risks. Understanding these adjustments can ensure your dental practice is staying up-to-date with any changes you need to make.
The changes made by OSHA were largely concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, as recommended safety precautions regarding COVID-19 change frequently, it's important for your dental practice to be mindful of any updates, so you can remain in compliance.
Here's what to know:
1. Compliance Inspections May Increase
Keeping employers, employees, and patients as safe as possible during this difficult and ongoing situation is one of OSHA’s main focuses, which means that any dental practice in the U.S. could get a visit from an OSHA inspector to ensure everything is in order.
The practice would be evaluated on standard criteria that the practice needs to follow, along with all of its COVID-19 prevention measures.
2. New Materials Were Created To Keep Employees Safe
By offering new, employee-focused resources, OSHA hopes to ensure that employees know they have options if they feel like their employer isn't listening to their concerns or following guidelines appropriately.
The key takeaway of OSHA's changes to employee reference materials is that employee concerns should be heard, potentially documented for record, and dental practice owners must be willing to take their concerns seriously.
OSHA is focusing on these materials in an effort to help employees accomplish their tasks effectively and with reduced fear of COVID-19 due to improper protocols. It may be impossible to completely eliminate risks, but they can be mitigated.
3. Screening Is Crucial For Patients And Staff
Even if your dental practice is located in an area with a low number of COVID-19 patients, medical screening questions should always be asked to all patients and staff. OSHA's regulations classify any oral procedures on people who have been exposed to COVID-19 as a "very high risk activity” – the highest risk classification from the organization.
Until these screening questions are no longer deemed necessary, it's important for dental practices to continue screening their patients for potential symptoms and exposure before performing any procedures on them.
Successfully Manage Your Dental Practice
Managing your dental practice involves focusing on the people who make it run — your staff. Strong people management skills allow you to accomplish more at your practice while keeping your employees and patients safe. Access our e-book today for more information on effective dental office management!