As OSHA Coaches, we get many questions about how to properly set-up dental office OSHA protocols. Clarification on how to “color-within-the-lines” is the interesting and creative part of our coaching. Many offices come up with resourceful ideas, that are ingenious, economical and useful! While other ideas prove to be impractical, outlandish and unsafe.
In light of the Corona Virus Disease, we are getting many questions about dental masks. Clinical Masks are a provision that needs to be supplied by the practice owner. They are a Personal Protective Equipment Requirement along with Clinical Gloves, Puncture Proof Utility Gloves, Protective Eyewear (with side shields), Ear protection (forá 2hours daily exposure to turbine handpiece & ultrasonic scaler noise) & Proper Fitting Lab Coat. But what do you do when the supply of clinical masks--is just not available?
Currently, the CDC, WHO & OSAP are standing by the OSHA requirement and holding true, to advise clinicians to wear (1) MASK PER PATIENT. That is not beneficial information, for practice owners and dental clinicians, in times of crisis, when alternative measures are being strongly pondered. Here are some considerations that you should not act upon…
MASKS: WHAT NOT TO DO:
- Do not re-use masks; Re-use can expose the clinician breathing in saturated levels of harmful bacteria, viruses & particulate matter.
- Do not make your own masks.
- Do not cut up disposable diapers or mop sheets to make masks.
- Do not make cloth masks to wash/bleach/re-use.
- Do not place your mask in a Ziplock baggie and spray in disinfectant; This can harm your lungs.
- N95 Surgical Masks: Please know there are inherent risks with using N95 Surgical Masks as an alternative to disposable Masks:
READ CDC ARTICLE: Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of N95 Respirators: Crisis/Alternate Strategies
MASKS: WHAT TO DO:
- Remember: Wearing (1) Mask per Patient is the acceptable safe norm
- Most dental suppliers are limiting mask orders to (1) box per order: Order from multiple- suppliers, Order Once per week, ask for Free Shipping
- Do check Amazon. They do currently have masks---but delivery is 2-4 weeks. Ask your team to order from Amazon too and reimburse them!
- Do check local medical suppliers (It’s worth a shot!) Do encourage your employees to pick up any masks they find locally and reimburse them.
- Create a “Cash for Masks Fund”. Have management keep cash-on-hand to reimburse employees immediately for any clinical masks that are purchased for use at your practice.
- Do check out OSAP’s Corona Virus Disease CVD-19 Toolkit
Unfortunately, there is no good alternative to using A NEW MASK—PER EACH PATIENT.
Keep focused on your Infection Control Practices. Make sure to put them all in place comprehensively! If you need additional guidance, please do not hesitate to reach out with your questions or concerns.
This article was written by:
Dental Enhancements Founder