Our fall and winter series focusing on safety and infection control continues. Last month, the first column in the series focused on hand washing, which is required under Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) 817-015-0030(1), Serving Clients. Specific OAR numbers are included for your reference.
After hand washing, what is the next step you are required under state regulations to take between each client to safeguard both you and the client?
a) Clean and disinfect tools approved for reuse
b) Dispose of tools not approved for reuse
c) If you are providing esthetic or nail technology services, obtain basic client information
d) All of the above
If you answered d) All of the above, you are correct! Tools that come into direct contact with clients either need to be cleaned and disinfected between use on clients or disposed of in the nearest waste receptacle. OAR 817-010-0065(1), Requirements and Standards
If you follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using disinfectants, you’re complying with state regulations.
OAR 817-010-0065(5), Requirements and Standards
Remember that disinfection means “…complete immersion in the disinfecting solution of the object(s) or portion(s) thereof to be disinfected.” OAR 817-010-0065(5a), Requirements and Standards
Sterilization, Giving to Clients OK Too
Practitioners may also sanitize tools and implements using an approved method of sterilization – either a steam sterilizer or a dry heat sterilizer or autoclave registered and listed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
OAR 817-010-0065(5b-c), Requirements and Standards
If you use sterilization equipment, which is optional, you must have it checked annually to determine if it is reaching the temperature and/or pressure required by the manufacturer’s instructions. OAR 817-010-0065(4), Requirements and Standards
Specifically for nail technicians: Items such as disposable nail files, cosmetic sponges, buffer blocks, sanding bands or sleeves, orangewood sticks, and disposable nail bits may be given to the client but may not be kept at your station or anywhere in the salon. OAR 817-010-0065(7), Requirements and Standards
Note: Excuses of why your used disposable tools are still in your work area or facility don’t convince enforcement officers from the Oregon Health Licensing Agency (OHLA).
Remember to obtain basic client information. Facility owners and independent contractors must follow this requirement when providing esthetic or nail technology services. Facility owners are responsible for requiring salon employees who are not independent contractors to follow this requirement. OAR 817-015—0065, Client Records
Disinfection: Low- or High-Level?
Before disinfecting a non-electric reusable tool between clients, what are you required to do?
a) Remove all hair and/or foreign material
b) Clean thoroughly with soap or detergent and water
c) Rinse thoroughly with clear, clean water
d) All of the above
If you answered d) All of the above, you’re correct again! OAR 817-010-0068 (1a-c), Disinfecting Non-Electrical Tools and Implements
If you’re disinfecting an electric reusable tool, such as hair clippers, you obviously can’t do b) or c) above, but you do need to do a) and then disinfect using a low-level disinfectant, except for clipper blades, between use on each client. OAR 817-010- 0069(1a-b), Disinfecting Electrical Tools and Implements
What about clipper blades? They also are required to be disinfected between each client. First a) remove hair and/or all foreign matter, and then b) completely saturate with a high-level disinfectant solution, spray, or foam used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. They may also be sterilized using approved methods. OAR 817-010-0069(2a-b,3), Disinfecting Electrical Tools and Implements
But do you know when to use a low-level disinfectant or high-level disinfectant?
Use low-level disinfectant for all tools and implements without sharp edges or points, including but not limited to combs, brushes, rollers, rods, etc. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, totally immersing the tool in the disinfectant. OAR 817-010-0068(2), Disinfecting Non-Electrical Tools and Implements
Use high-level disinfectant for all tools and implements with sharp edges or points, including clipper blades. Totally immerse them for at least 10 minutes or for however long the manufacturer recommends. As you might know, keeping tools immersed for too long in high-level disinfectant may corrode the tool and doesn’t necessarily make the tool more sanitary. OAR 817-010-0068(3), Disinfecting Non-Electrical Tools and Implements
Disinfectants Must Be Available for Use
All disinfecting agents must be kept at adequate strengths to maintain effectiveness, be free of foreign material and be available for immediate use at all times the facility is open for business. OAR 817-010-0065(6): Requirements & Standards
Who must “…provide and maintain adequate disinfecting or sterilizing equipment for the number of practitioners, usage requirements, and volume of business?”
a) Facility license holders
b) Independent contractors
c) Certificate of identification holders
d) All of the above
If you answered d) All of the above, you’re three for three! Good job! OAR 817-010-0065(3), Requirements and Standards
While safety and infection control practices aren’t exactly rocket science, they do require a good understanding of the basics and a thorough knowledge of state requirements.