At the time of writing we were on the brink…

By Steve MacArthur, Hospital Safety Consultant

At the time of writing we still had time to think…

Soooo, anyone who thought that COVID19 would be appearing in the rearview mirror as we sped down the highway of life came face-to-face with a double dose of double-downing as the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, announced that the Public Health Emergency continues to “exist” (it would appear that COVID is immune to existential threats). And OSHA has determined that they’ll be extending the National Emphasis Program to protect high-risk workers from COVID (and I think we personally know a lot of those folks).

I keep hearing on the street that some of the accreditation organizations aren’t really interested in hearing about how the response to COVID has impacted individual organizations (I’m thinking that if you are still in a declared emergency response, waivers and such would still be in effect, but to what extent can we rely on that as a reasonably defensive response during survey?), which I sort of get (I think we’d all like to “get past” this thing), but the numbers of cases seems to be on the rise (yet again).

So there seem to be an awful lot of cross-messages in the mix, which likely means there’s a risk assessment in the mix as well (isn’t that pretty much always the case—you know it is!)

Then with the potential risks associated with monkeypox, particularly as a function of waste management, we have quite a confluence of stuff to deal with. Since we know that with the extension of the National Emphasis Program, the big O will be visiting hospitals and there is always that possibility that they might make the handling of certain wastes a focus of their attentions.

Fortunately (at least I think it’s a positive), there is some guidance on the management of Category A waste products on their biomanagement/waste management page. And best of all, they’ve added a monkeypox appendix since the last update. But, as one octogenarian bard might have it: If this ever changin’ world in which we’re livin' makes you give in and cry – I think you know how that one goes…

About the Author: Steve MacArthur is a safety consultant with Chartis Clinical Quality Solutions (formerly known as 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 the author of HCPro's Hospital Safety Director's Handbook and is contributing editor for Healthcare Safety Leader. Contact Steve at

Found in Categories: 
COVID-19, Emergency Management, OSHA