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    The benefits of proper OSHA and infection control training

    Dental practices are busy places, but infection control training shouldn't be put on the back burner.

    There’s never a boring day in the dental practice.

    There are always patients to be seen, equipment to be maintained and paperwork to be filled out. The last thing anyone needs is the added inconvenience of conducting infection control training. However, it must be done. Not only is yearly bloodborne pathogens training mandated by OSHA, but it’s a best practice in order to keep clinicians educated and up to snuff on important workplace safety practices.

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    “Just like attending CE to maintain clinical skills, it’s the same with safety training,” says Karen Daw of Karen Daw Consulting and former clinic health and safety director for The Ohio State University College of Dentistry. “Ongoing infection control continuing education should be part of the culture and dialogue about safety should occur at regular office meetings. In many states, infection control training is mandatory. And in some professions, a minimum number of CE credits in this area is required. The bottom line, and first thought, should always be safety. “

    OSHA trainingThe person tapped to oversee the training is completed can be someone within the practice — most likely the practice’s infection prevention coordinator. There’s also value in partnering with an outside trainer. That trainer can be helpful, especially if the infection prevention coordinator doesn’t have time, or, better yet, to bring a fresh, current perspective.

    OSHA mandates that this person be familiar with the elements of the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard,” Daw says. “The CDC recommends someone who is willing to be trained. I learn more from trainers who are passionate about the topic. If the trainer can engage the audience and is familiar with adult learning styles, then retention of information will go farther.”

    For Dr. Kimberley Michalak, DDS, who practices in Dublin, Ohio, bringing in a trainer, like Daw, has very clear benefits.

    “The training that we have that is on our own lacks the up-to-date factor that the consultant has,” Dr. Michalak says. “They are more up to date with what’s trending, what’s new. I feel like anything that I’ve used that hasn’t been with a consultant has been kind of dated. The industry is changing so fast and with the new products and technologies that are coming out, I don’t think a self-training is adequate.”

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    Utilizing an outside trainer allows practices, like Dr. Michalak’s, to be aware of issues that they might be too close to see.

    “For instance, we started making sure that we are placing our instruments the proper direction in the autoclave,” Dr. Michalak says. “We had been doing it incorrectly and flipping the packs upside down when they should be upright. Because that’s just what we all thought. It was standard thinking. And the way we were folding our bags for the autoclave was incorrect; we would just slap that thing down. Our consultant just showed us, ‘You just need to fold the adhesive part of at the very top, make sure you get a good seal and don’t just fold it all the way down.’ There are little things like that that just opened up our eyes.”


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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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