Proper Disinfection of Surfaces and Equipment in Your Practice



OSHA puts standards in place from the perspective of protecting your employees from hazards in the workplace.  Many people don’t realize that OSHA’s sole focus is on the safety and health of your employees, not your patients.  However, with OSHA’s standards in place, your employees are protected, but often times so are your patients as well.


Following the proper disinfection requirements and procedures is a great example of an OSHA requirement to protect your employees that also protects your patients as well.



What does OSHA require for proper disinfection?


  • Any spills of blood and Other Potentially Infectious Material (OPIM) must be promptly cleaned and decontaminated in compliance with OSHA


  • All equipment and environmental and working surfaces must be cleaned and decontaminated after contact with blood or OPIM


  • Health care facilities must use an EPA-registered disinfectant in patient care areas where there is uncertainty about the nature of the content of your surfaces and equipment and about the presence of multidrug resistant organisms.


    • This requirement can be confusing.OSHA doesn’t regulate the list of approved disinfectants, the EPA does.OSHA directs you to use an EPA-registered disinfectant.


  • The user must follow all applicable label instructions on the EPA-registered products.


    • If the label says it takes 3 minutes of contact time to work effectively, the surface must stay wet for 3 minutes before being wiped or air dried (depending on if utilizing a spray or wipe).


  • The user must use protective gloves and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) appropriate for the task


    • At a minimum, the employee must wear gloves!The chemical in the disinfectant may be safe enough to have contact with bare skin, but what about the infectious agents present on the surfaces and equipment you are disinfecting?


  • The user must always wash their hands after coming in contact with a potentially contaminated surface



How does this protect my employees and my patients?



By following the requirements in place by OSHA, your employee’s are protected by utilizing PPE to protect them from contracting infectious agents while disinfecting, and by following the proper hand washing procedures.


Both your employees and patients are protected by your practice utilizing proper disinfectants approved by the EPA.  These disinfectants have been proven to effectively kill the infectious agents listed on the product label.  Therefore, you are protecting your employees and your patients from contracting infectious diseases. (LINK TO PREVIOUS BLOG)


This can be considered a win-win scenario!






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