As time goes on and we all look back on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our businesses and our personal lives, we will realize the importance of infectious disease preparedness and response planning. This pandemic has made business owners experience the real-world cost and impact of a pandemic. COVID-19 has taken us all by surprise and may return in the future just as other flu strains. So how do you move forward and attempt to resume your business operations in an environment that involves possible exposure to COVID-19?
Deciding where to start when it comes to dental patient safety and employee safety is a daunting task. Risk mitigation is defined as taking steps to reduce adverse effects. How to prioritize the risks with the least amount of impact on your organization makes it important for everyone in an organization to come together to identify the risks and determine a course of action to mitigate the risks.
Even though some return-to-work orders have been given in some states, they are all accompanied with recommendations for business owners to follow the CDC’s guidelines to protect their workers. In this case, it can involve changes in the physical configuration of your facility which means how you provide physical distancing between your employees. Other recommendations by the CDC include hand washing protocols, the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), monitoring the health of employees by taking temperatures, cleaning of work areas, and disinfection methods.
Employers must assess the risks associated with COVID-19 exposure and then develop written policies and procedures specific to health and safety in dentistry to avoid and reduce risks related to potential further business disruptions. Employees must be informed of these policies, therefore, a training session should be conducted and documented. It will then be up to the business owner and management to monitor closely the compliance with these safe practices. OSHA provides a Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 that can be extremely helpful to you. In this Guidance OSHA informs employers to focus on implementation of engineering, administrative, and work practice controls and use of personal protective equipment. OSHA also advises employers to prepare an infectious disease preparedness and response plan to help guide protective actions against COVID-19. If you already have this type of response program, you should add protection against COVID-19.
Contact SafeLink for assistance with written Risk Mitigation Policies and Procedures for Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan to help guide your business' protective actions against COVID-19. The preparation of this program includes one hour of consulting to help you assess the risks associated with protecting your employees (and patients if a dental practice) from COVID-19. A Risk Mitigation Policy specific to your practice or lab will be developed and written for your health and safety manual.
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Learn more about other safety topics:
|New TB Guidelines, Compliance & OSHA's Inspection Criteria||Proper Removal of PPE for Infection Control||3 Steps to Warding Off the Flu|
Need help in writing your employee safety policy? Contact an OSHA compliance consultant.
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