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We are going to look at the two governing agencies for standard precautions: the CDC and OSHA.

This lesson will go into their respective roles in regards to standard precautions.

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Safety First

You are all excited about embarking on your new career in nursing. It is now finally your first day of working with patients. You are hoping that you remember everything you learned during your studies for becoming a nurse. Before worrying about what you need to remember about treating the patients, you need to remember how to be safe in the healthcare facility. After all, you won’t be full of excitement and smiles if you catch a disease.This involves you remembering a specific set of regulations that are used to prevent the spread of infections and bloodborne diseases called standard precautions.

You are very familiar with the precautions and recall that they are designed and implemented as a joint effort between two different government agencies. Let’s see how this collaborative effort helps to ensure that you have a safe workday and patients have a safe visit to the healthcare facility where you now work.

Role of the CDC

The first agency that has a vested interest in standard precautions is the CDC.

This stands for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC is the government agency that studies diseases and how to prevent the spread of diseases. It was the CDC that originally came up with the set of regulations known as standard precautions. These precautions were developed by the CDC based on research that showed that certain diseases are bloodborne and can, therefore, be passed between persons through exposure to blood or other bodily fluids that contain blood.

This became especially important in the healthcare setting because bodily fluids are handled regularly. The more bodily fluids were handled, the more the precautions became necessary in order to prevent the spread of infections from one patient to the next or from the patient to the healthcare worker.As a result, the CDC became very focused on making sure healthcare workers had knowledge of their role in disease prevention. The CDC’s main role is to make sure nurses and other healthcare professionals know how diseases are spread and how to stop the spread. Each of the standard precautions are written and implemented with that goal in mind.

The CDC is concerned with knowing how to keep everyone safe from diseases.

Role Of OSHA

On the other hand, we have OSHA which is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. You should notice that the word occupational is in the name of this agency. That is because they are concerned with people when they are working. This is the agency that provides regulations for employers to maintain safe working environments for employees.

As you may have surmised at this point, OSHA is concerned with the safety and health of healthcare workers. OSHA originally came up with a set of regulations known as universal precautions that had pretty much the same information and precautions as standard precautions. Since the information was so identical, the precautions were merged and simply referred to as standard precautions.OSHA’s goal in regards to standard precautions is to make sure places that employ healthcare workers, such as hospitals, doctor offices, labs, etc, provide the equipment and means for healthcare workers to follow each of the precautions outlined by the CDC.

OSHA will visit the various healthcare facilities looking for items such as sharps containers, face masks, gowns, gloves, etc. They do announced and unannounced visits to check for compliance with the requirements to provide the necessary items to allow workers to protect themselves from exposure to blood and other bodily fluids. If a facility is not in compliance with the standard precautions, then OSHA can do anything from putting the facility on probation to fining the facility per violation to closing the facility down until they meet the requirements.

Lesson Summary

So let’s sum this up.

A specific set of regulations that are used to prevent the spread of infections and bloodborne diseases is called standard precautions. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, abbreviated as CDC, is the government agency that studies diseases and how to prevent the spread of diseases. The CDC’s main role is to make sure nurses and other healthcare professionals know how diseases are spread and how to stop the spread.OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is the agency that provides regulations for employers to maintain safe working environments for employees.

OSHA’s goal in regards to standard precautions is to make sure places that employ healthcare workers provide the equipment and means for healthcare workers to follow each of the precautions outlined by the CDC.

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