OSHA creates protections related to pandemic

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has created a National Emphasis Program (NEP) to help protect health care employees and other employees in high-hazard industries where there is higher risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The NEP describes policies and procedures not only meant to protect workers from potential exposure, but also to protect workers from retaliation. OSHA is working to prevent retaliation, distribute anti-retaliation information during inspections and outreach opportunities, and promptly refer allegations of retaliation to the Whistleblower Protection Program. 

The Joint Commission issues water safety standard

A new standard on water management programs that addresses Legionella and other waterborne pathogens will be effective for Joint Commission-accredited hospitals, critical access hospitals and nursing care centers on Jan. 1, 2022. Currently, Environment of Care Standard EC.02.05.01 element of performance (EP) 14 for hospitals and critical access hospitals, and EP 6 for nursing care centers, require organizations to minimize pathogenic biological agents in cooling towers, domestic hot- and cold-water systems, and other aerosolizing water systems. These two EPs will continue to be scored until Dec. 31, and will then be deleted from these programs.

The Joint Commission expands SAFER Dashboard

The Joint Commission launched the SAFER Dashboard for all its accredited health care organizations. The dashboard is a self-serve data analytic tool that allows organizations to view all their survey data and Joint Commission national comparison data in one place. The dashboard is accessible on an organization’s Joint Commission Connect extranet site. Initial access will be given to the chief executive officer, primary accreditation contact and primary laboratory contact (if applicable). Security administrators in the organization may grant access to additional users as needed. All information contained in the final accreditation report is available on the SAFER Dashboard. The dashboard will include all survey data for all accreditation programs (excluding certification program data). Users can view aggregate historical accreditation data, new survey finding data and comparison data to help identify patterns and trends to prioritize improvement initiatives.

ASHRAE updates health care ventilation standard 

A new errata sheet has been added to ANSI/ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 170-2021, Ventilation of Health Care Facilities. The errata sheet clarifies changes to the standard and includes two deletions for outpatient spaces. The first, found on page 26 of the standard, applies to design parameters for specialized outpatient spaces. The second, found on page 29 of the standard, applies to design parameters for general outpatient spaces. In both instances, a reference from the Facility Guidelines Institute regarding specialty exam rooms has been deleted.