NEEDLE STICKS: Cal OSHA Accused Of Ignoring Law
The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration has "ignored for nearly two years a law requiring California medical facilities to collect data crucial to the effort to reduce deadly needle sticks among health care workers," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The 1996 law requires documentation of the type and brand name of needles in all accidents. In addition, Cal OSHA and its Standards Board last week "formally recommended against revising state regulations to require documentation of the 'type and brand' of hypodermic syringes causing needle sticks." John Mehring, Health and Safety Officer for the Service Employees International Union, which represents most health care workers in the state, said, "This is a total slap in the face of the Legislature." He added that the intent of the Legislature in passing the law was to encourage "the development and use of medical devices that are designed to assure worker safety."
It's The Law
John McLeod, executive director of the Standards Board, said he did not believe the law was a mandate. "If they (the Legislature) had amended the Labor Code, yes, we would have to change the regulations. But they amended the Health and Safety Code instead," he said. His staff recommended waiting until the results of a three-year pilot program are in before taking any action on the issue (Carlsen, 7/8). For past California Healthline coverage of needle sticks, click here.