Occupational Health: Why you need Healthshare

 In Healthy Tips

Occupational health (1)

Occupational Health is defined as the promotion and maintenance of physical, mental and social well-being of workers in all occupations by preventing departures from health, controlling risks and the adaptation of work to people, and people to their jobs.

Like any other business; hospital management is required to ensure the safety and physical well being of its employees.

The risks are evidently much more, than say an office environment, as medical staff come into direct contact with health hazards.

To ensure compliance with relevant legislation is achieved, specialists in the field are the recommended people for the job.

The complexity lies in the multiple departments and the possible causes of injury and illness that need to be managed and monitored. These among others include:

Ambulance Services

  • Contact with infectious person or infectious body fluids.
  • Exposure to Blood Borne Viruses (BBVs) via puncture wounds or bites.
  • Exposure to compressed / anaesthetic gases or chemicals administered / released inside the ambulance e.g. halothane, nitrous oxide, oxygen and ethyl chloride.
  • Exposure to latex consumables e.g. powdered latex gloves.
  • Exposure to chemicals or drugs.
  • Mishandling of gas cylinders.
  • High speed driving under emergency conditions.
  • Driving in difficult traffic or weather conditions.
  • Poor ergonomic set up / lack of lumbar support.

 

Catering

  • Exposure to contaminated water from spray nozzles.
  • Contact with infectious patients if delivering food.
  • Exposure to chemicals such as detergents, caustic or oven cleaners, soaps, chlorine based products and other cleaning agents.
  • Exposure to flour enzymes or dust, or other powdered ingredients such as egg powder, spices or seasonings.
  • Incompatibility of chemicals.

 

Emergency Department:

  • Exposure to undiagnosed infectious
  • Exposure to infectious body fluids such as blood, saliva and other body fluids.
  • Exposure to contaminated aerosols e.g. showers harboring Legionella bacteria.

 

Laboratory

  • Exposure to infectious specimens, unfixed tissues or body fluids.
  • Exposure to infectious aerosols during processing or sample container breakage in centrifuge.
  • Unsuitable specimen packaging and transport.
  • Inappropriate or inadequate PPE.
  • Poor maintenance of engineering controls e.g. safety cabinets.
  • Operator error.
  • Equipment failure.
  • Careless handling and storage.
  • Contact with very cold surfaces or fluids such as liquefied gases.
  • Use of incorrect gases e.g. in anaerobic incubator.
  • Asphyxiation from some non-toxic, non-flammable gases such as nitrogen or carbon dioxide.

 

Laundry

  • Exposure to biological agents via contaminated laundry or contaminated water aerosols.
  • Exposure to proteolytic enzymes in detergents.
  • Exposure to needles, knives or blades folded in soiled laundry.
  • Exposure to latex consumables, soaps, detergents and solvents.
  • Exposure to cytotoxic drugs and radionuclides via contaminated laundry.

 

Mortuary

  • Exposure to infected blood, body fluids or tissues via aerosols from bone / band saw and tissue sectioning especially TB infected lungs.
  • Direct skin contact e.g. verminous bodies.
  • Needlestick, bone or sharp medical instrument inoculation / puncture wounds.
  • Direct splashes or spillages of infectious material.
  • Incorrect or careless work technique e.g. failure to adhere to hygiene procedures.
  • Exposure to infected water aerosols due to stagnation of water in water system or failure to store and distribute water at correct temperatures.
  • Use of improper equipment e.g. wooden blocks or rulers, cracked equipment such as porcelain sinks.

 

Pharmacy

  • Testing procedures that involve piercing skin.
  • Contact with infectious patient e.g. TB patient.
  • Exposure to cryogenic chemicals, cytotoxins, antibiotics especially during formulation procedures (blending/ compounding), drug reconstitution and mixing but also during handling, disposal and administration.
  • Use of disinfectants and detergents.
  • Inappropriate or lack of use of engineering controls and PPE.
  • Improper practices during drug preparation.
  • Contact with latex consumables e.g. use of powdered latex gloves.

 

Radiology

  • Exposure to infectious aerosols or infected patient body fluids.
  • Exposure to magnetic fields whilst performing Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
  • Staff with MR unsafe implants e.g. pacemakers.
  • Ferromagnetic items pulled into the bore of the magnet.

 

Stores/ Warehouse

  • Contact with fuel or battery acids.
  • Inadequate ventilation in battery charging area leading to hydrogen gas build up.
  • Failure to wear PPE.
  • Lack of mechanical handling equipment.
  • Improper lifting technique or overexertion.

 

Theatre

  • Exposure to Blood Borne Viruses (BBVs) via puncture wounds or cuts from scalpels, blades, suture and injection needles, cutting devices, bone fragments or via splashes to mucous membranes.
  • Exposure to microorganisms in laser plumes.

 

Wards

  • Exposure to infectious patients.
  • Failure to use standard precautions.
  • Stagnation of water system.
  • Failure to maintain water system.
  • Latex consumables.
  • Medications or excreted, unmetabolised drugs in patient’s urine or feces
  • Hazardous drugs due to inhalation from over pressurised vials or connecting and disconnecting intravenous tubing.
  • Hazardous risk waste.
  • Detergents and disinfectants.

 

The above-mentioned are some of the hazards that hospitals are exposed to in various departments of work daily.

To ensure compliance with legislation in each of these it is highly advisable to choose Healthshare Integrated Solutions – the healthy choice to make – for the patient, the community and the company; all the way to the bottom line.

Contact details: Tel: (+27) (0) 12 661 4181

Fax: (+27) (0) 12 661 4288

info@www.healthshare.co.za

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