Physician Practice

The cost of living dangerously

Medical Environment Update, June 1, 2019

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Editor’s note: In this guest column, Dan Scungio, MT(ASCP), SLS, laboratory safety officer for Sentara Healthcare, a multihospital system in Virginia, and otherwise known as “Dan, the Lab Safety Man,” discusses the important issues that affect your job every day.

Alicia was working the night shift, and she tripped on the edge of a floor mat while holding a rack of specimens. She had complained about the old mats before because the edges had been peeling up and they created a trip hazard. When she fell, her shoulder hit the counter’s edge, and the injury required immediate surgery.

The state OSHA office saw the report. Because this had been the third reported serious injury in as many years, they sent an inspector in to investigate. The inspector noted several safety issues, and even saw violations that were repeated after the lab had reported them abated. When all was said and done, the lab had to pay a hefty $400,000 fine.

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