OSHA Launches Needlestick Prevention Education Campaign
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched an outreach effort to inform employers, health care workers and the "general public" about the revised bloodborne pathogens standards (OSHA release, 5/9). In November, former President Clinton signed the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act, which mandates that hospitals use safer needles or "alternative devices to minimize injuries" to health care workers. In addition, the measure requires hospitals to "involve rank and file health care workers in selecting the new devices," and hospitals must "maintain a log of all needlestick injuries" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/17). The outreach effort provides a "collection of written materials" that explain the new standards, which are intended to reduce needlestick injuries among health care workers and went into effect on April 18. The agency will provide a presentation package at its education centers, where not-for-profit organizations offer training courses for the public and private sectors. OSHA is also "extending its partnership efforts" with other associations, agencies and labor organizations and is "drawing upon its existing partnerships with public sector and professional organizations in this effort." The enforcement of the new provisions will not go into effect until July 17, as OSHA is now updating the revised standards' "compliance directive," which guides the agencies' officers in enforcing the standards (OSHA release, 5/9).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.