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OSHA emphasizing 'needlestick' program in Southeast

ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is emphasizing a program focused on reducing the number of needlestick and sharps injuries in Mississippi at ambulatory surgical care centers, freestanding emergency care clinics and primary care medical clinics that provide acute, chronic and emergency care on an as-needed or walk-in basis.

“Needlestick and other sharps-related injuries that expose workers to bloodborne pathogens continue to be an important public health concern,” said Cindy Coe, OSHA’s regional administrator in Atlanta. “Employers must take seriously their responsibility to protect workers from these health risks.”

In addition to Mississippi, OSHA will be visiting a sample of health-related facilities in other southeastern states, including Alabama, Florida and Georgia, to review each establishment’s processes and programs designed to protect workers from bloodborne hazards. Those inspections will focus on bloodborne pathogen hazards associated with exposure to contaminated sharps devices. Establishments of all sizes with varying numbers of workers will be inspected.

OSHA area offices also will continue to open inspections in response to complaints that include allegations of sharps/needlestick hazard exposures.

The regional emphasis program begins April 25 and will continue until Sept. 30, 2012, unless it is extended.

Source: OSHA

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