Western Medical Center of Santa Ana, Calif., distinguishes itself as a leader in redefining health care delivery. As a member of the Tenet Health System, a national provider of health care services, WMC is recognized for providing an “environment of care” that is innovative to patients. WMC has served Orange County residents since 1902 and now, more than a century later, has grown to 1285 employees and 280 licensed beds. The facility is part of the Orange County Regional Trauma Network and provides emergency services for more than 20,000 patients annually.
The most overwhelming EH&S challenge for the hospital was managing compliance with federal and state regulations to maintain and provide employees access to Material Safety Datasheets (MSDS) – an issue that took top priority during a Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) inspection of WMC’s facilities.
Before the inspection, WMC staff members were encumbered with filing and updating MSDSs for the hospital’s master inventory list. Providing an updated, accurate binder was no small task, given that WMC has 60 departments and its laboratory alone has more than 400 known chemicals. The seven-floor hospital also oversees three clinics.
“The hospital had an overwhelming number of out-of-date MSDSs that needed to be updated and maintained,” said Ray Lubbers, WMC’s Facilities Manager/Hospital Safety Officer. “There was no organization, and no one monitoring the books on an annual basis.”
“If an MSDS was needed, employees would literally just sit down and start looking through the binders,” he said. “It was business as usual for 20 years.”
The adoption of more stringent environmental health and safety regulations, including recent homeland security measures, increased the hospital’s workload and cost pressures. But the real EH&S challenge faced by WMC came to light during a JCAHO inspection when JCAHO recommended the hospital make enhancements to its HazMat Compliance program for employees.
WMC investigated several solutions before deciding to outsource their HazMat Compliance program to 3E Company. The soundness and benefit of the decision became apparent almost immediately, as JCAHO inspectors, familiar with 3E’s information and compliance management services, were assured that WMC would meet JCAHO’s compliance standards and halted any further MSDS inspection.“3E came in as a safety net,” said Lubbers. “If the updated MSDS isn’t in the floor binder, employees still have access to the MSDS via 3E’s call center.”
Staff members can retrieve pertinent MSDSs with 3E’s MSDS On Demand service. The hospital’s goal is to use the manual MSDS binders and enhance it with 3E’s Online MSDS Database featuring more than 1.75 million MSDSs for healthcare organizations. 3E also provides language translation services for multilingual employees – an added benefit to WMC and its multicultural staff.
With 3E’s MSDS services, WMC is able to shift its focus to a more pressing need training employees on workplace safety practices. With 30-40 new employees joining WMC every month, Lubbers trains them on potential EH&S safety situations that might require them to call 3E for an MSDS.
As WMC’s safety officer, Lubbers is put at ease by 3E’s MSDS services. “MSDS management could be a full time job -- and then some,” he said. “3E’s value is that there is one less thing I have to worry about – it’s a comfort knowing the hospital is covered.”
Tenet Health`s Western Medical Center Calls for 3E`s MSDS Compliance Program-- Stat!