Everyone, to some extent, has their own ideas on basic safety and hygiene precautions. In fact, each practice has its own way of doing things too — though there are some common things that reign true across the board.
It isn’t just a cultural expectation that your practice will follow certain cautions or procedures, however — it’s also a legal one. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration, otherwise known as OSHA, is a department of the US federal government that specifically focuses on the health and safety practices of businesses, workplaces, and other organizations.
Your practice, just like every other business or medical facility, is subject to OSHA standard guidelines and procedures regarding certain scenarios or materials. OSHA standards aren’t just recommendations — they’re laws.
OSHA (which stands for Occupational Safety and Health Administration) was established by the US Congress in 1970 as a regulatory agency that sought to ensure safe and healthy working conditions for employees across various industries in the United States. OSHA’s primary goal is to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities by setting and enforcing standards, by providing training, education, and assistance to employees and employers, and also by conducting inspections to ensure that compliance with safety and health regulations is properly enforced.
As you could probably guess, OSHA is especially imperative in the realm of healthcare. After all, healthcare workers are especially vulnerable to health and disease risks at their workplace – and this most certainly includes dental workers. The close exposure to patients’ mouths, saliva, and blood means that dental workers are all at an especially high risk of being exposed to dangerous illnesses and diseases if the proper precautions are not consistently and thoroughly maintained.
While OSHA standards are also extremely beneficial to patient safety, their goal first and foremost is to protect you at your workplace. It is very important that you and your teammates all work together to ensure that OSHA standards are always met by your dental practice so that you can continue to work in a safe, sanitary environment.