It’s not like they’re going to stop looking over shoulders…

By Steve MacArthur, Hospital Safety Consultant

As we close in on the second anniversary of when everything went (more) sideways (than usual), all things COVID seem to be heating up for the holidays with the omicron variant and cases spiking here, there & everywhere (probably not what Sir Paul had in mind almost 60 years ago).

And with the subcurrents relating to supply chain, are we looking at another period of lean as it relates to personal protective equipment? I do hope everyone is up to date on their initial fit-testing processes (with so much coming and going, it hardly seems possible to keep up with the orientation process, never mind fit-testing), as I suspect we’re going to be relying on respirators to a greater degree – 2022 isn’t shaping up to be the end of this, so I guess we better strap in.

To that end, it’s important to keep in mind (or to keep in your boss’ mind) that our friends at the big O (ccupational Safety & Health Administration) have been taking people to task when ends are not quite meeting when it comes to providing appropriate protections to frontline workers.

This article — — was published rather a while ago, but the realities of the situation have not really changed a whole lot, so at the very least, an instructive read (quick mea culpa – I’ve been hanging on to this one for a while, perhaps too long – better late than never). To be honest, OSHA actions can sometimes take a while to reach fruition, so it is entirely possible, if not likely, that this “story” has repeated itself over the past few months. Not really sure what’s prompting these “inquiries” – could be whistleblowers or “normal” monitoring of occupational illness numbers. I know everyone out there is trying to keep things going, but it might not be a bad idea to check with your HR folks to make sure that you’ve captured all your onboarding candidates.

Another resource with which you might want to refamiliarize is some guidance from ECRI regarding the best methods for testing “rogue source” masks, in the event the supply chain woes end up impacting the availability of N-95 masks from the usual suspects ( ). You do have to share some info with the ECRI folks to obtain the info, but I think they’re a pretty reliable source and worth considering.

Just so it’s not all bleakness during the holiday season, I’m going to share some “under the radar” holiday music, just because. Nothing of particular import from a music history standpoint, but some stuff that percolates in my noggin regardless of the time of year. No description, but if you dare:

About the Author: Steve MacArthur is a safety consultant with The Greeley Company in Danvers, Mass. He brings more than 30 years of healthcare management and consulting experience to his work with hospitals, physician offices, and ambulatory care facilities across the country. He is also a contributing editor for Healthcare Safety Leader. Contact Steve at

Found in Categories: 
Environment and Facilities, OSHA, PPE