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Clean Hands Count – May 5th is World Hand Hygiene Day – Infection Control

The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated May 5th, 2018 as World Hand Hygiene Day. Both WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer resources for healthcare providers to practice effective hand hygiene to prevent and control the transmission of infectious agent during healthcare delivery.

In the dental setting, dental healthcare professionals must follow OSHA and state dental board hand hygiene requirements. OSHA requires employees to immediately wash hands after removal of gloves and/or following contact with blood or other potentially infectious material (OPIM). Most state dental boards require adherence to CDC recommendations for dental infection prevention and control. Specifically, the CDC’s 2003 Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Healthcare Settings along with the CDC’s 2016 summary document CDC Summary of Infection Prevention Practices in Dental Settings: Basic Expectations for Safe Care recommend the following hand hygiene procedures for dental staff:

  1. Dental staff should perform hand hygiene
  • When hands are visibly soiled.
  • After barehanded touching of instruments, equipment, materials, and other objects likely to be contaminated by blood, saliva, or respiratory secretions.
  • Before and after treating each patient.
  • Before putting on gloves and again immediately after removing gloves.
  1. Dental staff should use soap and water when hands are visibly soiled (e.g., blood, body fluids); otherwise, a 60-95% alcohol-based hand rub may be used.

Hands should be thoroughly dried before donning gloves to prevent bacterial growth and to maintain glove integrity. Additionally, liquid hand-care products should be stored in either disposable closed containers or reusable closed containers that can be washed and dried before refilling. Do not add soap or lotion to (i.e., top off) a partially empty dispenser.

Since 1992, OSHA Review, Inc. has provided dental professionals with comprehensive programs to support regulatory compliance and infection control. We are a registered continuing education provider in the state of California, specializing in Dental Practice Act, infection control, and OSHA training.

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