It’s your Call January 2018

HIPAA: Do I need a Business Associate Agreement for the cleaning service?

No. A business associate agreement is not required with persons or businesses whose function does not involve the use or disclosure of protected health information (PHI) and where any access would be incidental.

This includes janitorial service staff whose access is only a by-product of their janitorial duties.  Since the covered entity is ultimately liable for a breach, they must have reasonable safeguards in place to restrict access to PHI for cleaners who work unattended in the facility.


OSHA its your call heater in facilityOSHA: The heat Is on…space heaters in your facility?

So far, this year, January has seen cold temperature across the country. But we’ve heard from some of our clients who feel that winter is year-round at their facility because the thermostat always seems to be set for FRIGID. Hot natured folks like the cooler temperatures, but the cold natured folks often shiver through the day, or wear sweaters and use space heaters.

How do you keep everyone happy and find a comfortable temperature for everyone?  Do you allow space heaters in your facility?  If yes, do they meet OSHA’s standards? Make sure there is proper ventilation [1926.154(a)(2)] and adequate clearance from combustible material (12 or 36 inches depending on heater type) [1926.154(b)(2)]. Some heaters are not suitable for use on wood floors and cannot be set directly on them or other combustible materials. Use heat insulating material or rest it on at least 1 inch of concrete. [1926.154(b)(3)].

Here are some tips from the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI).

  • Employees should be required to obtain approval from a supervisor or facility manager prior to using a space heater at work.
  • All space heaters should have the certification of an independent testing laboratory.
  • Proper placement of space heaters is critical. Heaters must be kept at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including papers, clothing and rugs.
  • Locate space heaters out of high traffic areas and doorways where they may pose a tripping hazard.
  • Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. Do not use an extension cord or power strip, which could overheat and result in a fire.
  • Do not plug any other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater.
  • Operating space heaters should never be left unattended. They should be turned off and unplugged at the end of the work day or whenever the employee leaves the room.