How to Choose a Safety Coordinator for Your Practice

How to Choose a Safety Coordinator for Your Practice Image

By Gracie Hogue, BM

Every practice needs a person who is in charge of keeping the practice OSHA-compliant and safe. This person needs to be onsite at the practice for most of the time when the practice and/or specific location is open. For example: if you are a practice that has multiple locations open at the same time, you’ll need to find one safety coordinator per location. If OSHA were to drop by unannounced, they are going to ask to see your safety coordinator. If OSHA hears “he/she doesn’t work at this location,” or “he/she is only here on Thursdays,” that won’t satisfy.

You want to put someone in that position who will have the time and attention to do it correctly. The Safety Coordinator should have a great understanding of how each facet of the practice works. 

As far as what to look for when choosing a Safety Coordinator, we would recommend these skills and qualities:

-Proficient with understanding and working with computers and computer programs/filing; comfortable with internet and navigating through websites and information.

-Self-directed and capable of working independently.

-Ability to create and maintain reports and policies.

Primary duties for a Safety Coordinator coincide with their skills and qualities. Look for someone who could do the following well:

-Prepare, review, and update compliance policies, plans, procedures, and practices, including manuals and standard operating procedures and checklists to comply with OSHA and CDC guidelines

-Maintains an up to date collection of OSHA regulations and CDC guidelines pertinent for a dental/medical office

-Conducts a hazard assessment and maintains appropriate PPE in appropriate sizes

-Maintains a Work Exposure Control Plan and Hazard Communication Plan

-Compiles the Safety Data Sheets and creates an inventory

-Maintains OSHA required medical records for employees

-Maintains exposure incident reports in a confidential manner

-Maintains quality control records to include equipment maintenance and monitoring logs for the sterilizers, ultrasonic devices, and automatic washers

-Provides training on hazardous chemicals

-Trains new hires and organizes annual training

-Organizes and ascertains attendance of employee trainings on infection control and prevention and safety management

-Reviews work practice restrictions for exposure or infection

-Understands work practice and engineering controls

-Understands the selection and use of personal protective equipment (PPE)

-Researches new safety and infection control products

-Organizes the evaluation of safer medical devices and documentation

-Verifies the fire extinguisher is in working order monthly and arranges for an annual inspection 

-Creates and maintains fire and emergency plans

-Displays the escape routes and emergency numbers

-Conducts a waste management assessment

-Receives training on handling waste as a generator

-Ensures proper biohazardous labels, chemical ID labels and other safety signage

-Assesses employees’ adherence to program elements

 

When you find the right Safety Coordinator for your practice, you have created an ally and strengthened your practice as a team. Your practice can look forward to better and more OSHA-compliant days that can give you ease of mind.

 

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