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safety first?? Oregon

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  • safety first?? Oregon

    I am so used to trying to help here, this is hard. I run a hospital coffee shop that looks like a starbucks, but is not, we only serve their coffee. I will try to make this as brief as possible.
    My boss likes to keep a strict image of a true starbucks coffee shop. I always wear plastic gloves, for my own safety. I was told I could not because it was not "starbuck like". I have had two occasions that prompted me to wear the gloves. Once I was handed a bloody bill by a woman that had open wounds on her hands, once I had a woman, who was obviously going through her cycle, and did not know it, reach into her front pocket for her money (you know it was there on the bill). These are just two that are in my head right now. I also am aware that everyone we serve is either there to help the sick, see the sick, or are the sick (yes we have patients that come in to get coffee, some coughing into their hands before getting the money to give to us). I really feel this is a safety issue, but I do not know if I have any legal way to fight for the right to wear gloves while working. Does anyone know??

  • #2
    You should contact the hospitals Infection Control Nurse and explain your situation. I think he/she would be very concerned and assist you in resolving this matter. OSHA does mandate that the workplace have policys regarding bloodborne pathogens and this is especially true in a hospital setting.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by WorkHorse View Post
      You should contact the hospitals Infection Control Nurse and explain your situation. I think he/she would be very concerned and assist you in resolving this matter. OSHA does mandate that the workplace have policys regarding bloodborne pathogens and this is especially true in a hospital setting.
      Thank you so much!

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      • #4
        How about refusing to accept money covered in blood? Seriously. That is just gross. While anyone who comes in contact with the public runs the risk of spreading infection through casual contact, your workplace is not unique in this regard. In fact, oddly, yous is probably safer as patients aren't going to be using your service and most visitors have the sense not to come in to visit patients when they are ill. In any case, I wouldn't think wearing gloves would be necessary for handling currency and coffee cups. I can see having some pairs around in the event that a situation arises where bloodborne pathogens or body fluids are an issue, but not everyday. Heck, we keep a box of gloves in the office with our first aid kits for those sorts of random emergencies.
        I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by turbowray View Post
          Thank you so much!
          You're very welcome. You're Infection Control Nurse probably isn't aware of your situation and both instances you described where you were exposed to blood should have been reported. There should have been a post exposure evaluation and followup done.Hospitals have to comply with OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.1030 - Occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by ElleMD View Post
            How about refusing to accept money covered in blood? Seriously. That is just gross. While anyone who comes in contact with the public runs the risk of spreading infection through casual contact, your workplace is not unique in this regard. In fact, oddly, yous is probably safer as patients aren't going to be using your service and most visitors have the sense not to come in to visit patients when they are ill. In any case, I wouldn't think wearing gloves would be necessary for handling currency and coffee cups. I can see having some pairs around in the event that a situation arises where bloodborne pathogens or body fluids are an issue, but not everyday. Heck, we keep a box of gloves in the office with our first aid kits for those sorts of random emergencies.
            We have patients that constantly come in with a nurses note stating they are on a general diet, so they can purchase from our shop (we won't seel to them without one). I have at least 5 patients a day come in, and unfortunately, I can not know why they are there, or if whatever they are there for, is contagious. I could visualize them coughing in their hands, and then grabbing the money to give to me, without washing their hands inbetween. I can say honestly, I used to never get sick or very very rarely, before I started to work there, and now I and others get sick quiet often. We had a hepetitis (I think that is what it was, I will have to find the letter sent to all employees) alert, when a gentleman came from Japan, or somewhere of the likes, with flu like symptoms, and ended up being tested positive for this. I know I am probably over protective of things like this, but I have paper cuts on my hands quit often from breaking down numerous cardboard boxes, etc, and I worry about what I am being exposed to. I guess I feel this shop should be handled the way a hospital area is handled, not a coffee shop built outside of a hospital. I wish it were true that family does not come in to see a sick patient, but they do. I think they worry more about feeling bad for not visiting, than what they and others are exposed to, as a result of their visit. Thanks for your response!!

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            • #7
              Turbo, hopefully the suggestion that workhorse made will work out for you. I can certainly empathize with you as this would unnerve most anyone. Have you suggested to him that should you come up with a disease contracted from the infectious issues you have voiced that you would be eligible to be compensated through his workers comp carrier. This might be enough to WAKE HIM UP and get him to under stand the hazardous position he is putting you in by not allowing you to protect yourself. You are asking to wear standard plastic food service gloves not a gass mask for Heavens sake. Hopefully your boss dosen't have the "he is the BOSS, therefore he is the only opinion that matters", mentality. Good luck to you dear.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by BnThrDnTht View Post
                Turbo, hopefully the suggestion that workhorse made will work out for you. I can certainly empathize with you as this would unnerve most anyone. Have you suggested to him that should you come up with a disease contracted from the infectious issues you have voiced that you would be eligible to be compensated through his workers comp carrier. This might be enough to WAKE HIM UP and get him to under stand the hazardous position he is putting you in by not allowing you to protect yourself. You are asking to wear standard plastic food service gloves not a gass mask for Heavens sake. Hopefully your boss dosen't have the "he is the BOSS, therefore he is the only opinion that matters", mentality. Good luck to you dear.
                Thank you so much, it is a she tee hee! I have brought my worries up to my immediate supervisor, she said she will pass it on, but doubts that it will change the other womans mind. I will at least have it on record now, so if I do come up with something, I can ask a lawyer about that. Thank you so much.

                Comment

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