A local dentist in California was giving a patient an anesthetic injection when something flew into the patient’s eyes.  Patient moved his head as an uncontrolled reflex and the needle came out of the patient’s mouth and stabbed the doctor in her thumb.  The worst new was that she had just aspirated blood into the syringe and the patient was a know HIV carrier.  This as you know is one of the worst nightmares of a doctor or a hygienist.  So, following our protocol, the doctor immediately goes to the nearest emergency room for blood tests and administration of antiviral medication. After the treatment the doctor files a mandatory Worker’s Comp. claim which then gets reported to Cal OSHA. This incident causes an OSHA inspection that we have a handle a few weeks after the incident. The OSHA inspection resulted in no fines or penalties.

Potential penalties avoided were estimated at over $50,000.

Important Takeaways:

  1. According to OSHA’s general safety order, every incident must be thoroughly investigated, new policies established, and all staff must be trained in the new policies.
  2. Every dental office must establish safety policies such as follows:
    1. Retract using something other than your fingers such as a mouth mirror
    2. Cover all patient’s eyes with safety glasses or goggles prior to any procedures
  3. Establish a safety policies manual for your practice that includes a sign in sheet the beginning of the manual for all employees to sign an affidavit that they have read, understand, and agree to follow these policies to the best of their ability.

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