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OSHA Training for Dental Offices - Become Compliant

As a dentist, you may be dealing with a variety of pathogens and dangers such as viruses, bacteria, and even chemical exposure - which is why OSHA training for dental offices is necessary. By knowing how to prevent a health hazard, you should be able to avoid OSHA violations/fines, you'll be able to protect not only your safety, but also that of your employees and patients. 

What Is OSHA in Dental Setting?

The purpose of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is to make certain that both workers and patients coming into an American dental office are protected. Without proper control, germs and bloodborne pathogens may spread within the office, endangering not only the worker, but also the patient. 

OSHA involves workers behaving in a certain manner to help prevent the spread of a potential health hazard. For instance, a person trained in the OSHA standards would know exactly what steps need to be taken in order to control and prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Besides the workplace safety behavior that needs to be adopted during dental practice, OSHA in dental also involves the personal protective equipment necessary for dental professionals. 

Since dental settings can lead to exposure to dangerous bloodborne and saliva-transmitted pathogens, dentists need compliance training to ensure they adhere to OSHA regulations.

Aside from the prevention of potential health risks due to pathogens, OSHA in dental settings also requires training against workplace violence, working with other chemical agents and many more. It teaches against psychological workplace hazards to prevent a hostile environment. 

How Often Should a Dental Clinical Team Member Receive OSHA Training?

OSHA mandates it as a federal law that a clinical team from a dental office needs to receive OSHA training every year. The safety of these teams has to be taken seriously, as there are numerous workplace hazards that can affect both workers and patients. 

To prevent errors caused by human factors and other occupational and ergonomic hazards, online training is essential. This does not just include the dentist, but also other workers in the building. Part-time employees, receptionists, assistants - everyone needs to learn how to protect themselves. 

Online training can help train to protect against hazards such as the spread of the COVID-19 virus. This online training may be received in places such as EasyLlama, which aims to help employees ease their way back into the office.  

How Do I Become an OSHA Dental Trainer?

To become an authorized dental trainer, you need to take Dental OSHA online training and earn your certification. 

Certain pre-requisites are required. For one, you need a couple of years of experience in the dental office. A degree in biological safety hazards or other courses designed to train against numerous biological hazards may also be substituted for an OSHA certification.

If you do not have a degree in safety and hygiene, then you will have to follow the OSHA course, which is provided online. If you are not strong in the English language, you may Google translate original text pieces into your native language.

What Are the Steps to Obtain OSHA Certification?

The steps to obtain your OSHA certification and become a trainer are the following:

Choose an OSHA Field or Industry

In this case, we are talking about dental practice.  OSHA offers general industry and multiple other fields, but what should matter for you are the OSHA standards for a dental office. Based on your needs, you may choose a field to aid your prevention of workplace hazards.

Meet the Educational Requirements

Each certification has its educational requirements. For instance, it's important to have a college degree proving that you are a dental professional. The degree must be recognized and accredited by the Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). 

If your degree comes from outside the States, then it will be evaluated. If the system is fairly the same, it will be given equivalency. 

Meet the Work Experience Requirements

Work experience is just as important as educational experience. In most cases, the level depends on which certificate you are going for. 

As an example, if you want to get your diploma as a Certified Safety Professional (CSP), then you will need about 4 years of experience in the dental office. This applies to the dentists themselves, who should be primarily concerned with occupational safety and how to avoid numerous workplace hazards.

On the other hand, an Associate Safety Professional (ASP) will suffice with one year of experience at a dental office. As the assistant of a dentist, you need to know how to avoid the spread of bloodborne pathogens, work with numerous biological and chemical agents, prevent workplace violence and other occupational safety issues.   

Apply Online

There are various places where you can get your certification for OSHA regulations, OSHA included. Go to your course of choice, create a profile, and then apply to join the course. Once your application has been approved, you will receive the approval and gain access to the course.

Purchase the Course and Exam

With the access granted, you will likely need to purchase the course and your spot in the exam. There are many free courses online that can give you a glimpse at the materials, but for your certification to be considered valid, you need to go around it the right way. 

Bear in mind that once you purchase the exam, you will have exactly one year to sit through it. You may choose a time depending on your preferences and availability. That being said, if the timeframe passes, you'll no longer have access to the exam. 

Go Though the Training

If you are only being re-certified, you might not need to go for the full training, as long as you know the information. Still, it is recommended that you do so. Training should not take more than a couple of hours or days, depending on how you use your time. 

While OSHA standards do not change much through time, your memory might. Going through the training once more is a good way to refresh your memory, in case there are things you may have forgotten. Add it to your HR's compliance training list.

Sit for the Exam

Now you need to sit through it. There is no need to be present at any physical point, as the exam is delivered to your computer. When you submit your answers, the exam will be verified, and you will get your results.

Earn Your (Re)Certification

Once you pass the exam, you'll get your certification. In order to maintain your certification, you need to pay an annual fee. Also, you need to review the information every day, to ensure that you remain up to date. 

Which Standard Is Most Frequently Cited by OSHA in Dental Offices?

At the moment, there are no OSHA standards that have been particularly associated or created for dentistry. That being said, a dental office is exposed to a variety of occupational safety hazards, led by human factors or engineering controls. 

OSHA training for dental offices often cites the aspect of psychological workplace hazards, bloodborne pathogens, physical hazards (i.e., laser safety and other chemical agents). Training for bloodborne pathogens are among the most important. 

With the spread of the COVID-19 virus, prevention becomes necessary to stop the spread of these pathogens. EasyLlama is a good way to obtain online training in the OSHA standards, in a manner that is quick and easy.

The Bottom Line

Being a dentist is not easy, especially during pandemic times. Aside from dealing with hazardous substances, you also need to protect against biological factors that may put you or your patients in danger. OSHA training courses will help protect you against that, so that you may operate safely within the dental office.