5 Things You Should be Doing to Ensure the Health and Safety of Employees and Patients
A comfortable dental practice is always high on the list of what patients look for. It’s understandable–going to the dentist can be scary for many patients, even if it is just a regular cleaning. Safety for employees and patients should also be high up on the list for owners. Here are a few tips to follow that will ensure the safety of everyone at your practice, from patients to employees.
1 | Avoiding Cross-Contamination and Safety from Bloodborne Pathogens
You work in a place where tissue and blood are worked on and that means bacteria will be present. This means that the entire staff must work to keep areas clean to help minimize the risk of cross-contamination. Develop a checklist and assign cleaning duties to a specific staff member to ensure that cleaning gets done. Chairs should be wiped down between each patient and all surfaces that staff members come into contact with should be cleaned with an antibacterial disinfectant between procedures.
It’s also important to keep patients and staff safe from bloodborne pathogens. OSHA has created a list of basic safety requirements for dentists and other medical professionals. These protocols include, but are not limited to, wearing appropriate PPE, properly training all employees, and providing a Hepatitis B vaccine and medical follow-up to exposed employees at no cost. View the full list of protocols on OSHA’s site.
2 | Dispose of Hazardous Materials Properly
Be sure to dispose of hazardous materials properly. This keeps your employees safe and also helps keep the environment clean. If there are spills of hazardous materials be sure that you have the proper equipment on hand to clean it up safely.
3 | Keep Your Equipment Maintained
Keep your equipment disinfected and in proper working order. This will limit cross-contamination and ensure there are no accidents. Be sure that your equipment is maintained according to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule.
4 | Practice Radiation Safety
Dental X-rays can pose a radiation hazard. While the amount of radiation exposure is limited, there is potential risk to staff who administer multiple X-rays. Be sure that staff and patients are wearing the proper equipment and that the lead aprons are routinely inspected for signs of breakdown or wear.
5 | Clean Waiting Areas and Public Restroom
Routinely cleaning your waiting room, reception desk and restrooms is a must. This not only helps you put your best foot forward but it shows that you take the health and safety of everyone very seriously. Wipe down and disinfect surfaces in bathrooms, the reception desk and other high touch points like doors daily. Also perform other cleaning tasks routinely such as dusting, wiping down of chairs, vacuuming or mopping hard floors.