Shocking Requirement: Electrical Safety for Healthcare Vendors

July 15, 2011 at 6:30 pm Leave a comment

Recently, Vendormate has received a number of questions about whether or not electrical safety training should be required of vendor representatives.  As with many protocols related to vendor reps, a “yes” or “no” answer isn’t clear.

Right now, electrical safety training is not a very common requirement among Vendormate hospitals.  Our customers that do require it are likely doing so based on their interpretation of Joint Commission and OSHA requirements.

OSHA states, “All hospital staff members should have training on electrical and fire safety, hazard communication, and infection control by qualified personnel.  Some educators recommend hands on training with pre- and post-tests.”  Also, “[Electrical] Exposure may occur when there is lack of maintenance to any electrical equipment, abuse, and lack of understanding of the equipment and/or its controls. Oxygen-enriched atmospheres and water may contribute to hazardous conditions.”  Reading this, hospitals typically mandate electrical safety training for employees in clinical areas.

Layer onto that the Joint Commission guidelines in HR.01.02.05 EP7:   “that before providing care, treatment, and services, the hospital confirms that non-employees who are brought into the hospital by a licensed independent practitioner to provide care, treatment, or services have the same qualifications and competencies required of employed individuals performing the same or similar services at the hospital.”   This can lead hospitals to the conclusion that clinical reps in oxygen-enriched atmospheres should have electrical safety training.

Electrical safety is another area where regulatory or industry guidance from organizations like OSHA and the Joint Commission are not clear cut and leave room for interpretation.  Hospitals respond by juggling effective protocols, perceived regulatory requirements, and operating efficiency.

For hospitals concerned about electrical safety requirements, we point out that OR Protocol Training built in accordance with AORN guidelines includes electrical and fire safety.  And as with all of Vendormate’s recommendations, we note that all vendor representatives do not have the same level of exposure in the hospital and, therefore, should not have the same requirements.

But in the end, each hospital makes its own choice about how to balance these competing interests.

Entry filed under: best practices, Joint Commission. Tags: , .

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