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Dealing with hazardous materials in healthcare facilities

Many Pennsylvania health care workers are aware that bloodborne pathogens are major hazards and that there are proper protocols that must be followed to prevent them from causing harm. However, there are many other hazardous materials that workers may come into contact with, including products and chemicals that are used to clean and sanitize equipment. In order to prevent injuries, employers are responsible for teaching health care workers how to identify and avoid potential workplace hazards.

Identifying hazardous materials with the use of a safety team can prevent these materials from being stored or used in inappropriate places. If the products are found in places that they should not be, the employer may need to review the procedures and policies with workers. For certain products that could potentially be inhaled or that may be corrosive, employees should know who is and is not authorized to handle the products and how to use the right personal protective equipment.

Health care facilities are also required by OSHA to have written plans that document the procedures that help prevent exposure to hazardous materials. The plans should also include how the materials should be handled and how to dispose of them properly to prevent environmental issues. It is also imperative that all employees have the appropriate training to handle and store hazardous materials that they may come into contact with.

If an employee suffers a workplace injury after coming into contact with hazardous materials that were not properly stored, the employee may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. If the employer fails to provide the benefits, an attorney may help the employee by assisting with filing a lawsuit against the employer. Through this lawsuit, the employee may seek compensation for medical costs and any income that was lost due to the injury.

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