OSHA Infection Control in Your Dental Office

Jessica Wilson from Hu-Friedy discusses OSHA Infection control in your dental practice.

OSHA Infection Control in Your Dental Office 1

Jessica Wilson from Hu-Friedy 

Jessica Wilson has a Masters in Public Health. She is an Infection, Prevention, and Instrument Management Specialist with Hu-Friedy. Lecturing both around the country and the world, she has lectured at the Massachusetts Dental Academy, South West Dental Conference, CDA, AGD, and Smile Source. She supports encouraging a no-excuse environment that evokes a positive change in people. Hu-Friedy has recently released the Greenlight breech preparedness and OSHA set-up program for their customers. 

Hu-Friedy Study 

According to a study by Hu-Friedy, practices are not compliant with guidelines and state standards. Their survey found that 66% of practices were not compliant in monitoring their sterilization units. 36% people transport contaminated instruments just on a loose tray. 29% people hand-scrub their instruments for sterilization. 99% of practices believe that their infection prevention programs are effective. Some of these numbers just don’t add up. 

What are some of the most common areas in a pediatric practice that could be a potential OSHA breech? 

Transporting contaminated instruments. They must be transported in a closed container since they are some of the sharpest instruments in your dental practice. OSHA is clear about that point. Jessica mentions that Hu-Friedy sells utility gloves that are both chemical resistant and puncture resistant and can be sterilized.  

Sterilization of handpieces and maintenance of dental unit waterlines. Jessica believes there is a high rate of non-compliance in these areas. There’s an area of confusion here about what compliance metrics they’re supposed to follow. Sometimes office staff need a little bit more of a roadmap to gain confidence in what they’re doing. This is where Greenlight from Hu-Friedy can come in handy. It breaks down the information and takes the complexity out of it. 

What’s the proper way to transport instruments? 

Cassettes for transportation are efficient. They should be used in conjunction with a container to house any fluid or leakage from the instruments. When trying to be compliant it’s important to also be efficient but in a way that encourages compliance. The challenge with an instrument basket is that you run the risk of instruments poking out. Dr. Jarod notes that the cassettes are nice because all your instruments are already there. 

What are some of the protocols dental offices should be following to manage their water lines? 

In January of 2014 a dental office in Anaheim, CA infected about 20 kids with their waterline that underwent pulpotomy with a material called ferric sulfate. Their waterline was contaminated and the iron in ferric sulfate makes the bacteria multiply faster and since they performed pulpotomies, it infected the childrens’ bloodstream. Jessica notes that in the end there were 72 patients that required hospitalization. 

Make sure the water being used intraorally is acceptable quality to treat patients. Your water must be 500 colony forming units (CFU) or less. You must test your water to figure out if it’s beneath that threshold. No matter what products you’re using to filter your water, you must make sure that you test the outcome of the water. You can either test your water yourself using a kit or you can send it to a lab where it will be tested.  

 Greenlight has a portal with a section about water that tracks testing. They also have a service for their members where you can upload your water test results and a Greenlight consultant will call your practice and explain what the results mean. Host Dr. Jarod Johnson has installed the Hu-Friedy waterline straws at his office and sometimes he must shock his units.  


Hos Jarod Johnson has recently switched from the ADA compliance manual and HIPAA training to the Greenlight Compliance Program. There was a series of questions that you must answer, and you’ll walk away with 22 thoroughly written protocols that pull info from your state, federal guidelines and the CDC guidelines. Greenlight was created to target users of Hu-Friedy products. It’s a partnership for practices. If you’re using their flagship product, the IMS cassettes, that’s going to get you in the door to Greenlight. 

The CDC wants every practice to have an Infection Control Coordinator who is responsible for conducting an annual infection control self-audit. You can complete the self-audit through Greenlight and it’ll be time-stamped so you know and can show that you are conducting the annual infection control self-audits. Greenlight also has a dedicated section of resources for the Infection Control Coordinator.  The Analytics and Reporting tab will show trends over time. This can be especially helpful if you have more than one practice. Users can also get their CE through Greenlight. 

Patient awareness resources is a section in Greenlight that is a good resource for doctors if they want to leverage their compliance. Give your parent confidence in bringing their child into your practice and knowing that they’re going to be taken care of.