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    6 scary consequences of not following good infection control practices

    How you can avoid these all-too-common pitfalls of infection control.

     

    A person throwing a latex glove in the trash

    A threat to professionalism

    While patients go to the dentist for treatment and care, it is a place of business for the people who work there. Poor infection control habits can threaten that environment.

    “Employers will have a set of expectations, whether communicated verbally or in writing,” says Karen Daw, an infection control consultant and former Clinic Health and Safety Director for the Ohio State University College of Dentistry. “They can include personal hygiene, behavior and following established standards for safety and infection control. It’s highly likely that we are aware that gloves will be worn with every patient, that instruments will be sterilized between use, and so forth. Therefore, when these expectations are breached, the employer will take action. This could include a reminder or coaching session to immediate termination, depending upon severity.”

    Related: 5 benefits of good infection control

    Even worse, patients might even be exposed to that breach of professionalism.

    “I once visited an office where a hygienist threw a contaminated instrument at another hygienist,” Daw illustrates. “They were arguing in full view of patients. Not only did this reflect poorly on the practice, but more importantly, someone could have been severely injured with long term medical consequences. The doctor immediately dismissed one of them on the spot.”

    And doctors have good reason to take workplace professionalism seriously.

    “Remember, if OSHA is involved, the employer—not the employee—pays the fine,” Daw observes. “So not following proper infection control procedures can land you in disciplinary hot water with the boss.”

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    Robert Elsenpeter
    Robert Elsenpeter is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Dental Products Report and Digital Esthetics. He is also the author ...

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