The Best Workplace Safety Tips for Dentists

Updated on August 28, 2023
The Best Workplace Safety Tips for Dentists

If you work in dentistry, you know your job isn’t one of the deadliest in the world, but it still comes with several hazards. Sharp medical tools, radiation, and even some hidden threats lurk in your dental office. Keep in mind the best workplace safety tips for dentists to avoid losing your best talent and paying high workers’ compensation fees.

Perform a Risk Assessment

The first step to providing a safe work environment for your employees is to perform a risk assessment. Run a mock inspection of your office to identify potential risks that could harm you and your staff. Start by checking for hazards and analyzing your workers throughout the day to see if there are ways they could get injured. Pay attention to both the big picture and small things, such as the safety of the flooring.

Train Your Staff

Staff should be properly trained on OSHA standards and guidelines. You can easily access an OSHA checklist online to become familiar. Ensure your staff stays updated on the guidelines and that any new hires thoroughly understand how to maintain a safe work environment.

Dispose of Sharps

One of the most common workplace injuries in dentistry is a syringe puncture. It leaves the wounded person vulnerable to potential bloodborne pathogens. Getting stuck with a needle is painful, but the possible long-term effects are—potentially—even worse. You should provide your staff with appropriate PPE, such as gloves, masks, glasses, and gowns. Encourage your staff to dispose of syringes and needles in a sharps container once they are used to prevent these dangerous items from sitting around and potentially harming someone.

Pro Tip: Provide free Hepatitis B shots to your employees. Since they will be working around blood, they will benefit from this added protection.

Eliminate Radiation Exposure

The use of X-rays in dentistry is common. They help locate diseases and other hidden issues that the naked eye can’t see. Though only a small dose of radiation is used in dentistry, hygienists must take precautions each time they use the machine because they use it numerous times throughout the day. Staff members should leave the room during radiation sessions to ensure it does not build up over time.

Pro Tip. Staff should also make sure that lead aprons are well maintained so that clients are kept as safe as possible too!

Avoid Repetitive Strain Injuries

One of the most serious injuries that dentists can develop is a repetitive strain injury (RSI). Regardless of how well you maintain your posture, the demands of dentistry often ask that you hunch over and bend in ways that cause pain to your back, neck, and shoulders. Poor posture can lead to carpal tunnel, arthritis, and many other painful injuries that surgery won’t necessarily fix.

If you end up with an injury that prevents you from performing your dentist duties, you will need another way to make an income. Knowing which dentist disability insurance to choose is a tough decision if you are early in your career, but you’ll want to cover all your bases. Regardless of how much training you offer or how well you follow the best workplace safety tips for dentists, accidents can still happen. Show your staff that you care by preparing for when they do.