New York City is an emerging life science market, and it’s important that occupational health be considered when setting up new lab space. In this week’s guest blog, you’ll learn why you should have an occupational health plan and provider in New York City. You’ll be learning from different members of our team supporting clients in NYC, based on their experience!
The OSHA Lab Standard
According to OSHA’s Lab Standard (29 CFR 1910.1450) and Bloodborne Pathogens Standard (29 CFR 1910.1030), employers shall provide all employees who work with hazardous chemicals and/or could have occupational exposure to blood or other potentially hazardous material an opportunity to receive medical attention. In addition, all employees must be made aware of reporting and medical procedures in the event of exposure.
For incidents that require emergency treatment, the procedure involves calling 911 and/or transport to the closest emergency department. On the other hand, procedures for non-emergency incidents are not as well defined. According to Rae Moore, QRT Specialist, employers should consider Occupational Health providers for employee incidents for a number of reasons:
- It’s easier to communicate to employees the process for medical procedures when there is one designated medical facility for non-emergency situations
- Employees are more likely to seek non-emergency treatment when the barriers to access are reduced, as they might not have a primary physician to go to if an incident occurs
- According to OSHA (29 CFR 1910.1020), employers must retain and maintain employee medical and exposure records for the duration of employment plus 30 years. Sourcing records from one medical provider simplifies this process
In addition, employers who use materials covered under the Bloodborne Pathogen Standard are required to offer Hepatitis B vaccinations or titers to covered employees. “It’s typically an easier process, and more cost-effective, to send employees to one occupational health provider rather than to an ER,” shares Sara Evarts, QRT and IH Specialist at Safety Partners.
Choosing an Occupational Health Provider
Per Rae Moore, there are some criteria to keep in mind when selecting an occupational health provider:
- Does the occupational health provider have services that are suitable for your program? For example, if you work with non-human primate material, is the provider familiar with procedures in the event of an exposure?
- Is the occupational health provider easily accessible?
- Is your company interested in onsite vaccination clinics, for Hepatitis B and/or flu vaccines? If so, does the provider offer this service?
- When employees visit the provider, what are the procedures involved? Do they have to fill out any forms beforehand? What is the billing process?
As you can see, having an occupational health plan and provider from the outset of setting up your lab space in NYC will help you avoid costly mistakes and ensure that employees have proper medical treatment for non-emergency situations. For more information on occupational health plans and providers, send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.