Worldwide, approximately 2.3 million men and women succumb to occupational accidents and diseases every year, according to the International Labor Organization. Workplace safety is vital to the success of any business, and dental clinics are not an exception. After all, the risk of injury and infection in dental practice is higher than you can imagine. For this reason, dentists are required to follow strict infection prevention and control standards to protect their staff and patients from the spread of bacteria and diseases. In fact, maintaining clean and safe dental offices is key to building trust with patients because safety is the first thing they look for when finding the best dentist office. Read on to learn how to maintain health and safety in dental offices.
Prioritize Risk Evaluation For Hazards
As a dentist, you must create and maintain a safe environment for your staff and patients. While maintaining a safe workplace isn’t always straightforward, you can achieve the best results by performing a risk assessment for hazards. This step helps dentists identify areas staff and patients are likely to slip, trip, and fall and what you can do to prevent these accidents. Other common hazards in dental practice include infections, radiation, exposure to hazardous chemicals, cuts from dental tools, and musculoskeletal injuries.
Adhere To OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogen Standards
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set strict guidelines to protect dental staff and employees from bloodborne pathogens. These standards include disinfecting and sanitizing dental workspaces and instruments, proper disposal of harmful waste material, and employee training. Practitioners are also expected to provide personal protective equipment and a plan to safely dispose of hazardous waste like needles and other sharp instruments.
Failure to adhere to these regulations is considered negligence and can result in serious legal implications. For example, if an employee or patient acquires infectious diseases at the dental office, they will likely be advised to consult a personal injury lawyer to file an injury claim. Personal injury attorneys work hard to get the compensation their client deserves to cover medical bills and loss of income. In most cases, dental practitioners facing personal injury claim lawsuits spend a vast amount of money on settlements. To avoid legal and financial ramifications following workplace accidents, stay compliant with safety regulations.
Follow Radiation Safety Practices
Radiation exposure is a common hazard in dental clinics and occurs during x-ray procedures. Fortunately, reducing the risk of radiation exposure is possible if you inspect x-ray machines regularly to ensure they are performing efficiently. Also, make sure dental personnel use the lead aprons as per set guidelines and replace those with cracks and tears. Also, store the lead aprons correctly to prevent radiation leaks and make sure dental employees handling x-rays are well trained in the proper use of the machines.
Safety in dental practice is often overlooked because of perceived lower risks than other industries. However, the risk of infections and injury in dentistry is high. Because of this, dentists are required to comply with OSHA’s guidelines on how to prevent bloodborne pathogens. As a dentist, you should also follow the proper radiation safety practices and perform risk assessments regularly to maintain health and safety in dental workspaces.