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Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Tops AOHP's List of HCW Concerns

On behalf of healthcare professionals nationwide, the Association of Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare (AOHP) conducted a member survey in August 2010 to identify healthcare workers top issues and concerns. AOHP has released its 2011-2013 Public Policy Statement based on the survey results. Highlights include:

Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure

AOHP advocates for a policy that supports a safer environment for employees via the use of safer technology, education, training and prevention regarding sharps injuries. AOHP is concerned about the underreporting of sharps injuries. The association continues to work on these issues in conjunction with key partners such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Safe Patient Handling

AOHP supports efforts to ensure a safer healthcare environment for both the employee and the patient, including proper utilization of lift/assist devices as the primary method for the prevention of musculoskeletal injuries in healthcare workers. The association advocates for regulations, legislation, education, training, research and prevention activities related to safer patient handling activities and methodologies. AOHP will work to influence both state and national legislation as it relates to Safe Patient Handling.

Respiratory Protection

AOHP supports efforts to ensure a safer workplace for employees by utilizing systems and processes that are evidence-based and supported through research. The association advocates for increased research, training and education related to respiratory protection from tuberculosis (TB) and other airborne respiratory transmissible diseases. With AOHP and NIOSHs Memorandum of Understanding, a collaborative relationship has been developed with the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL) in Pittsburgh, PA, where groundbreaking healthcare-related research is being conducted to determine the scientific need for annual fit testing, general respirator use, respirator use in pandemics, and other areas related to respirator use in healthcare.

Workplace Violence

AOHP supports implementing comprehensive violence prevention programs that are risk specific to the healthcare organization or facility. A comprehensive violence prevention program must include a written program, management commitment, employee participation, hazard identification, safety and health training, and hazard prevention control and reporting. AOHP supports and encourages healthcare organizations to protect employees, patients and visitors from acts of violence, as well as continuing further research on prevention strategies for workplace violence. Through AOHPs Memorandum of Understanding with NIOSH, AOHP is participating in the development of an on-line educational program for nurses that will share best practices to reduce workplace violence.

The complete AOHP Public Policy 2011-2013 document can be accessed at: http://www.aohp.org/pages/tools_for_your_work/regulatory.html.

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