What does OSHA say on the use of Scalpels and Safety Needles?
Q: When OSHA insists on the use of safety needles and scalpels, isnâ€™t it overstepping its authority by telling doctors how to practice medicine?
A: Thatâ€™s not how the agency sees things.
With regard to the use of safety devices, OSHA says in an interpretation letter:
â€śThe intent of the OSHA standard was never to usurp the practitionerâ€™s authority in deciding the best method of achieving a positive health outcome for a patient during a procedure.
OSHA recognizes there might be unique circumstances where the safety of the patient or the integrity of a procedure might be best served with the use of a device that is not a safety device. In those situations, it is important that good work practice controls, such as eliminating hand-to-hand instrument passing in the operating room, be implemented to provide protection to employees who are at risk of getting injured by an unprotected device.â€ť
However, the agency maintains that â€śpractitioner preference is generally not an excuse for failure to use engineering controls.â€ť