Other Environmental & Safety Risks Scored This Year
Another heavy hitter this year is a potpourri of environmental safety risks that are inadequately managed. These include blanket warmer temperatures, food refrigerator temperatures, breast milk refrigerator temperatures, paraffin temperatures, and hydroculator temperatures (and that you have changed out the hydroculator water every 14 days.)
The common denominator here is a failure to document or manage temperatures per policy. You will notice we did not mention medication refrigerator temperatures because most hospitals have migrated to passive, electronic 24-hour data loggers to maintain this process. It appears that it is time to expand this automation or provide more rigorous oversight of the manual process.
The open package of EKG electrodes without a new date of expiration that we mentioned last year is an expanding concern this year as we have seen this appear in several reports already in 2017. Either establish a dating process or purchase these in smaller packages and discard any open ones.
New Focus on Waste Medication Security
Lastly, we have seen the same new RFI’s popping up in multiple reports for medication security, but this is a new perspective on medication security. Surveyors appear to be looking at where waste medications, both sharps and hazardous pharmaceutical bins are being stored. If they are in unlocked rooms like a dirty utility room and the surveyor notes how easy it is to remove the waste bin top, you will be cited for unsecured medications. They have even been citing these in operating rooms that are abandoned after use. You will want to consider keeping these things in your medication rooms until picked up for disposal. Also, be sure to take a look at where these things are stored before the waste vendor comes to take them off premises to make sure they are in locked storage. Putting them out on the loading dock is not an acceptable storage location. Also take a look at how they are moved through the organization during collection processes as we have seen large carts full of these materials appearing to be abandoned in the hallway while staff are picking up from a unit.
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