Identify OSHA and its purpose


Identify OSHA and its purpose.

Describe Universal / Standard Precautions and why they are necessary.

What is your role as a Medical Assistant in following OSHA guidelines while working in a professional medical office / healthcare facility?

Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), was enacted in 1970 by a bipartisan Congress under the department of labor. Its main purpose is to sensitize employers and employees on safety at the workplace. This includes employees’ rights on safety, trainings on safety, record-keeping and monitoring injury and hazard incidences. OSHA guidelines are employed in learning institutions, hospitals, companies and other work places. Some companies and labor groups have however accused OSHA of being too demanding and imposing very strict measures on them (Susannah, Z. F., 1997).

Universal / Standard Precautions are practiced in the medicine profession and involve prevention of contact with blood and other body fluids of patients during healthcare. This is necessary as the transmission of diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis B virus, through blood and other body fluids is prevented when providing healthcare or first aid. Protective barriers such as face shields, gloves, goggles and disposable gowns must be worn when giving first aid. Washing hands and proper handling of syringes are also safety measures to be observed.

Any medical assistant working in a professional medical office or health facility must adhere to the OSHA guidelines. They should ensure adherence to the standards precaution, and so should treat all body fluids as infectious. Engineering and work controls must also be observed. Physical equipment and mechanical machines such as sharp disposal containers, and hand washing facilities must be handled with care. Personal protective equipment must also be worn to avoid physical injury and infections. The working environment must be kept clean, and all work surfaces must be decontaminated on a regular basis. It is advisable for any medical assistant to receive the free hepatitis-B vaccine which is free for all employees but not mandatory. This will reduce the probability of infections while at work. After accidental exposure to patient’s body fluids, medical assistants should follow up to ensure they are safe from any possible infection. They should also avail their medical records to the management, to be kept for their employment period. Record-keeping of hazards and injuries at workplace must be recorded as an OSHA requirement (Elsberry, R. B., 1999).

Safety management programs at work places are the best strategies in preventing OSHA problems. Many industries today have adopted this and an industry lacking this is considered less serious with safety management (Zimmerman, D. S., 2005).

In conclusion, in order for institutions to follow and adhere to the OSHA guidelines, it is a collective role that should be undertaken by the employers, employees, and the clients too. If each party performs their respective roles, then hazards and injuries at the workplaces will reduce and safety will be retained.





Elsberry, R. B. (1999). What OSHA records should an employer keep? Electrical Apparatus,

52(7), 36-37. Retrieved from


Susannah, Z. F. (1997). The new OSHA. Government Executive, 29(5), 34-38. Retrieved from


Zimmerman, D. S. (2005). Is OSHA important? Employee Relations Law Journal, 30(4), 42-55.

Retrieved from


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