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Some dental offices do not have bloodborne exposure plans

Minneapolis dental patients and employees might be interested to learn that 28 percent of privately owned dental practices do not have a written bloodborne pathogens exposure control plan. The Bloodborne Pathogens Standard, which is required by OSHA, is meant to protect health care workers from diseases that are transmitted through contact with blood or other bodily fluids.

To determine the number of private dental practices that did not have a written exposure control plan, OSHA surveyed a total of 1,059 participants all over the nation. The participants included dentists, dental hygienists and other staff members who work at the non-franchised practices. The survey asked if the participants knew about the requirement, if they knew whether or not their practice had a written exposure control plan and if they could identify potential problems should the practice be interested in implementing an exposure control plan.

When analyzing the survey responses, OSHA found that 50 percent of the participants who did not have an exposure control plan had no intentions of developing one within the next year. Further, 20 percent of participants with exposure control plans had yet to implement all of the OSHA requirements. Fifteen percent of the respondents also failed to offer hepatitis B vaccines to their employees.

Workplaces where employees are at risk for exposure to bloodborne pathogens are required to have a written bloodborne pathogens exposure control plan to help keep employees safe. If employees suffer workplace injuries or illnesses due to a lack of a written exposure control plan, they could seek workers' compensation while they recover. An attorney may assist with filing the claim or potentially seeking further damages if the employer's negligence resulted in the injury or illness.

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