Health and Safety in a Dental Clinic

27

Many professions come with a safety risk, which individuals interested in that field of work should properly educate themselves about. In case you’re thinking about starting a dental clinic, it’s vital that you understand that this workplace can also be potentially harmful due to chemicals and equipment that are used on a regular basis as well as other occupational hazards. In addition to your own safety, you also have to think about your staff and patients. This is why it’s essential that you and everyone that works with you are aware of the potential hazards and the best ways of preventing them.

Here is what you need to keep an eye on in terms of health and safety when running a dental clinic.

Understand the local laws

For starters, you need to look into the local laws concerning dental workplaces. No matter where you are located, there is probably an agency that you have to be registered with in order to operate. They can provide you with clear guidelines that you will have to meet if you want to keep going and protect everyone. Some examples of the requirements include providing a safe work environment, maintaining the place of work, having safe equipment and clothing, training the staff properly, providing training and supervision, implementing safety protocols, and reviewing your performance annually.

Assessing the risks

In order to have a safe work environment, it’s crucial that you continually assess the potential risks. For one, you need to be aware of all the substances you work with on a daily basis and if they’re hazardous. Everyone handling them should be properly trained for storing, using, transporting, and disposing of the materials. Then, prescription drugs that are stored on the premises should be locked and a detailed log kept. On the other hand, you also cannot neglect the safety of your visitors. With that in mind, assess your clinic for any slip, trip, and fall risks and see what you can do to prevent them. For instance, you can add floor mats or change your flooring to a more slip-resistant type.

Identifying electrical and fire hazards

Performing regular inspections and testing of the electrical equipment you use is of the highest priority. Make sure you keep all records of the inspections you’ve conducted. Moreover, you also want to practice fire safety and run yearly fire drills. Learn to identify all fire hazards in the workplace, including flammable materials like liquids, textiles, and paper products, heating appliances with open flames, flammable sedation gases, and flammable waste. You also want to identify who could be harmed and what’s the possibility of a fire occurring. In case it does, you need precautionary measures such as installing smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, having an emergency exit, and creating a plan that everyone will follow in case of a fire. This plan should also be clearly displayed so that all visitors and patients can see it as well.

Maintaining the equipment

Just like you have to take proper care of various electrical equipment around the workplace, it’s also necessary to maintain your dental equipment. First of all, you need to invest in top-of-the-line equipment. That way, you can ensure it will not break down frequently as well as make sure your clients are satisfied with your services. However, when your equipment does break down, it’s a great idea to look for maintenance experts that offer onsite repairs so that you can rest assured that the downtime will be minimal and that all your patients will still get treated in due time. Keep in mind that equipment should be serviced in accordance with the manual and have health and safety labels.

Implementing ergonomics

Another aspect of running a dental clinic that you should not overlook is ergonomics. Many clinicians are not aware of the effects that their posture can have on their health and everyday life and work obligations. Poor posture can lead to various issues, which is why you need to invest in ergonomic equipment that will make sitting in the same position for hours on end more comfortable. Moreover, even the organization of the premises can be improved with this in mind. For instance, reaching up and bending over to get something can also be avoided simply by looking into personalized storage solutions. Lastly, employees should familiarize themselves with some exercises that can help them stay in shape and prevent strain injuries from repetitive motions.

Working smarter, not harder

Something else you should look into is Four-Handed Dentistry. What this means is that your employees will be working smarter, not harder, as there will be a dental nurse that will be assisting the dentist. This approach can also reduce the amount of time that an appointment might last. By implementing this method, you can not only boost the health and safety of everyone but also the workplace satisfaction.

If you’re running a dental clinic, there are various factors that play a role in the health and safety of your workplace. Make sure you don’t overlook anything important to have happy clients and loyal employees.