OSHA Compliance: 5 Best Practices

Dental office managers know that maintaining compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards is a top priority. Keeping up with OSHA’s frequently changing standards could be a full-time job on its own, but it’s necessary to keep employees and patients safe.
As the AADOM-endorsed OSHA compliance provider, Rectangle Health has a wealth of knowledge and experience on the regulatory agency’s standards. Ready for a refresher? These five best practices will help you make sure your practice is in compliance.
Five OSHA Best Practices
Don’t snooze on changes to OSHA requirements.
As Karen Marshall, owner of Vero 3 Consulting, a Rectangle Health partner, explained on a recent episode of The Modern Practice Podcast, practices often have a hard time maintaining compliance because OSHA requirements change frequently. “Just like with employment law, there are variations and changes often, and it’s very difficult for practices or staff members to really be on top of it and be educated,” she said.
Practices must do their due diligence and stay current with any changes to HIPAA regulations, keeping employees safe and avoiding civil and criminal penalties. Subscribe to OSHA Quicktakes for the latest updates to OSHA standards
Don’t delay training employees.
New hires should receive OSHA training shortly after their start date, and all employees should be required to complete annual training to keep OSHA best practices top of mind. Training needs to be documented and requirements are specific. Your practice should be able to provide trainer names and qualifications, training content, attendees’ names and positions, and training dates to OSHA inspectors upon request.
Marshall noted that often, new hires are not trained on OSHA until a scheduled annual training, which might be months away from their start date. “You may have an employee that has already been there six months and doesn’t have that documentation that they were trained,” she said. This has potential risk, because if that employee commits a violation, the penalty could be substantial.

Keep up with documentation.
On another episode of The Modern Practice Podcast, Madison Evers, Practice Solutions Consultant at Rectangle Health, explained that practices often have a physical binder of their documentation but many employees may not even be aware of its contents or latest update. OSHA audits increased post-pandemic, therefore, complete an annual walkthrough of the practice to check key protocols, such as proper labeling of potentially hazardous chemicals and following CDC guidelines for blood-borne pathogen exposures and infection control.
Always be prepared for an OSHA inspection.
As Tija Hunter, CDA, instructor at the Dental Careers Institute explained at a recent AADOM conference, OSHA inspections can occur without much notice—or any notice at all. The visits are typically random and may also include representatives of the local dental board or health department.
If the visit is random, OSHA will typically allow the practice a chance to reschedule within the next 72 hours. To be prepared, note that your head doctor and all staff members will need to be present for interviews so they can be asked about their job responsibilities, processes, and workplace safety.
Importantly, the practice will need to show its spore tests for the last three years. These weekly tests monitor sterilization of dental instruments. If your practice is unable to provide them, OSHA inspectors may issue a significant consequence.
Be aware of common violations in your field.
Awareness of common violations can help your practice avoid pitfalls. OSHA keeps a record of standards for dental practices and the penalties dental practices can incur for violating them. Knowing what to look out for can be very helpful in mitigating risk.
OSHA is a Team Effort
As an office manager, it may feel like the responsibility of maintaining OSHA compliance falls directly on you. It’s important to communicate to all employees that OSHA compliance is a joint responsibility and everyone in the practice needs to understand the importance of the rules and regulations. Keeping up with training is the best defense to maintain compliance and a safe working environment for all staff and patients.
About the Author
Andrew Deichler is the Senior Content Manager, Marketing for Rectangle Health. An experienced multimedia communications professional and award-winning journalist, Andrew develops and produces a multitude of content, including blogs, case studies, eBooks, whitepapers, executive reports, videos, and more. Prior to joining Rectangle Health, Andrew served as the Content Manager for Kyriba’s Strategic Marketing team. Other previous roles include Editor, Students and Emerging Professionals for SHRM, and Multimedia Content Manager for the Association for Financial Professionals.

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