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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.


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    If the threat of physical harm is not enough to inspire the practice to consider safe infection control practices, then there is always a financial concern. OSHA penalties can run in the tens of thousands of dollars. Fines can be more than $100,000, if practices are especially slipshod.

    “Most practices don’t allow for penalties and fines in their annual budgets, and the financial consequences of the penalty for most can be burdensome,” Borg-Bartlett says.

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    “As far as the fines, OSHA has increased them as of January 1 of this year.”

    Violations, and their resulting fines, are grouped into various categories. The most prevalent categories are: Serious, Other-Than-Serious and Posting Requirements.

    “The most common citation for dental practices results in non-compliance with the Bloodborne Pathogen Standard,” Borg-Bartlett says. “The starting penalty for this type of violation would be $12,675 per violation. OSHA can cite if staff who are exposed to potentially infectious materials are not being protected by wearing adequate personal protective equipment. If there were four staff members violating the use of personal protective equipment, then each one of those is a violation and could result in a significant penalty per violation.”

    Other categories of OSHA violations also affect practices.

    “There’s also Failure to Abate, and that’s also at the $12,675 for violation level,” Borg-Bartlett says. “Failure to Abate means that the practice has had a visit by OSHA or has received a complaint by mail, email, or fax from OSHA and didn’t respond to OSHA in the timeframe that OSHA has indicated.”

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    The most serious violation comes with the heftiest fine—and for good reason.

    “The last type of violation would be a Willful or Repeated violation,” Borg-Bartlett says. “That penalty starts at $126,749 per violation, and would be the result of a practice not having a safety program in place or the practice had a prior citation and on a return visit by OSHA the same incident has not been corrected.”

    There are any number of reasons to adhere to good safety protocols. Whether it is a threat to professionalism, to some sort of safety risk, or to the specter of a fine, in the long run, it is better to adhere to good infection control procedures than not.

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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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