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St. Augustine Surgery Center: A Snapshot of OSHA Inspections

At the 20th Annual Ambulatory Surgery Centers Conference on Oct. 25, Stephanie Martin, BSN, RN, CNOR, CASC, administrator of St. Augustine (Fla.) Surgery Center shared her experience with an OSHA inspection.

Ms. Martin has been an ASC administrator since 1998, but she did not have an Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspection until 2012. On Aug. 14, 2012, the day began as any other. Ms. Martin had a lengthy to-do list and a busy day ahead. At 10 a.m., the OSHA inspector arrived unannounced.  Ms. Martin did a quick run through the center to inform everyone that the inspector would be coming through the facility. 

The survey began with the verification of the inspector's ID. He had a list of documents he wanted to see, which he took several hours to go through. He then was led on a tour conducted by the clinical coordinator. The inspector took pictures throughout the inspection, carefully examined the sterile supply room, observed the process of sterilization in the decontamination room and even checked each cord on equipment in the center. "I couldn't believe how detailed the survey had been," said Ms. Martin. 

The inspector had a long list of documentation requirements, including individual documentation of sharps evaluation. He also noted that an alcohol hand cleaner dispenser was located too near a light switch. 

The inspection ended at 3 p.m., but the inspector returned the next day to conduct staff member interviews. He spoke with a PACU nurse, infection control nurse and an additional nurse. He requested the interview be conducted in an entirely private setting. 

The final step of the process was the exit interview. Ms. Martin met with the inspector. He reviewed the possible OSHA fines, which can be substantial, but St. Augustine Surgery Center did not receive one.  

In Ms. Martin's experience, this survey was one of the most stressful, including CMS and accreditation surveys. "Be prepared for upcoming OSHA updates," Ms. Martin recommended.

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