Essential OSHA Certifications Every Healthcare Worker Should Have

Healthcare workers often face many hazards in the workplace. From moving or lifting patients to working with needle sticks to occasional slips, falls, or trips, there are many opportunities for workers to put their health and safety at risk. Required certifications for healthcare workers help people identify and minimize these risks that can lead to illnesses, injuries, or accidents. Along with improving workplace safety for workers, proper training can improve patient outcomes by reducing the likelihood of caregiver stress, injury, or fatigue that could lead to medical errors.

In this guide, you’ll discover everything you need to know about essential healthcare certifications and how to maintain compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines.

The importance of OSHA regulations in healthcare

Healthcare facilities must keep workers and patients safe and healthy. These organizations must protect everyone from harmful viruses, pathogens, and bacteria. Hospitals can be dangerous places for workers, and injuries and illnesses come at a high cost, often requiring employees to miss work, causing team members to work overtime to fulfill shift requirements, or resulting in temporary leaves that require additional staffing (Occupational). These outcomes can negatively impact workers, organizational efficiency, and patient outcomes, making addressing potential threats or issues essential.

Furthermore, patients often visit healthcare facilities with concerns about viruses, bacteria, and germs. Having the necessary certifications and training can ensure your team exercises the appropriate actions to ease these concerns and create a welcoming and safe place.

OSHA has issued standards and regulations that address workplace safety standards, highlighting appropriate actions to minimize hazards. These regulations cover a wide range of actions and topics to create a safe workplace. By maintaining OSHA compliance, healthcare facilities can:

  • Create a safe workplace with preventative measures.
  • Foster a healthy environment for patients and employees.
  • Develop a commitment to infection control.
  • Provide guidance about workplace practices and assistive devices.
  • Deliver appropriate and comprehensive training programs.
  • Improve patient outcomes with exceptional care.

Mandatory OSHA certifications in healthcare

OSHA provides training for identifying and minimizing hazards in healthcare, and failing to meet compliance can lead to penalties such as fines, reputational damage, imprisonment, or license losses.

Certification training provides essential information regarding pathogens, ionizing radiation, emergency action plans, protective equipment, medical and first aid, exit routes, and more. Below, you can find more information about healthcare worker safety certifications regarding Personal Protective Equipment, hazard communication, bloodborne pathogens, and emergency exits.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

PPE is equipment that minimizes exposure to hazards that can cause illness or injuries. This equipment could include hard hats, vests, safety shoes, earplugs, safety glasses, gloves, masks, gowns, face shields, full-body suits, and similar items. PPE prevents workers from having direct contact with harmful substances, creating an effective barrier from infectious materials or diseases.

Healthcare facilities must understand what equipment is essential for different circumstances and make necessary equipment available to every worker. Organizations must maintain PPE in a reliable and sanitary condition to ensure worker safety. Employers must also conduct hazard assessments detailing the assessment date, evaluated workplace area, and assessment conductor to verify the necessary use of equipment.

Hazard communication

The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), or right-to-know standard, grants employees the right to know any potential hazards associated with their responsibilities and roles. The HCS requires chemical importers and manufacturers to evaluate chemical standards and prepare labels and data sheets to relay this information to customers. Employers that utilize, store, or handle dangerous chemicals must train workers to handle them appropriately.

Employers can implement a hazard communication program through six steps:

  1. Learn the standard: Obtain OSHA’s HCS and learn its provisions. Identify staff for specific activities and training and designate someone with the primary responsibility of guiding implementation.
  2. Implement a written program: Write a plan indicating how you address hazard communication. Create a list of all hazardous chemicals in your inventory.
  3. Label containers: Keep all labels on containers you receive and add to workplace place containers if necessary. For example, label a container that aids in chemical transfers or new containers that store chemicals from their original containers.
  4. Maintain Safety Data Sheets (SDS): SDSs provide information about workplace chemicals. Make this sheet accessible to every employee, and ensure each worker understands how to use electronic solutions to access this information for your facility.
  5. Train employees: Provide comprehensive training for all workers working with chemicals. Provide additional training if you introduce new chemicals to the workplace.
  6. Evaluate the program: Review the program regularly, addressing changing conditions or updated procedures.

Bloodborne pathogens

Bloodborne pathogens are infectious microorganisms in blood that can result in diseases. These pathogens could include Hepatitis C, HIV, and Hepatitis B. OSHA’s standard for pathogens requires employers to provide safety devices and education to minimize associated risks with these microorganisms. The Bloodborne Pathogens Standard has provisions regarding exposure control plans, relevant vaccinations, work practice controls, and hazard communication and training.

Sharp waste management relates to this standard as many providers handle these items regularly. Sharp waste can puncture the skin, resulting in contamination. This standard outlines how to dispose of these materials in three ways:

  1. Register a service with a disposal company to take the materials to a treatment facility.
  2. Request a mail-back service to send materials to another company to dispose of them safely.
  3. Treat the materials while following OSHA and HIPAA regulations.

Emergency exits

All employers must follow exit route requirements in the work environment (Occupational). An exit route is an unobstructed and continuous path from any workplace area to a safe location. Typically, workplaces need at least two exit routes, but the building size, number of employees, and workplace arrangement can impact the number of required routes. These routes must be permanent in the workplace and accommodate building occupants.

OSHA has several other requirements for exits, including:

  • Separation with a fire-resistant material
  • Approved fire door protection
  • Appropriate labels for exits and non-exits
  • Indication of travel direction for using the exit
  • Written plans for facilities with more than 10 employees

Maintaining OSHA compliance in the workplace

Compliance standards are constantly changing, with new strategies and findings guiding the creation of effective practices. Maintaining OSHA compliance is essential for healthcare organizations, and finding comprehensive solutions can make it easy to stay up-to-date with best practices.

At Rectangle Health, you can find the OSHA compliance solution you need to meet standards and deliver access to vital information. Our solution empowers organizations to access current training protocols, policies, and protection plans to navigate essential OSHA certifications for healthcare. It also provides OSHA assessments so organizations can maintain a safe environment and identify and address challenges as quickly as possible. Our compliance experts rely on a quick assessment to determine where you can modify practices for enhanced safety.

Ensure OSHA training for medical professionals

Rectangle Health brings decades of experience to the healthcare industry. Our comprehensive solutions have been helping healthcare providers and professionals since 1993, and we continue evolving to better serve the industry’s vast and ever-changing needs. We’re committed to innovation, empowering us to solve problems and provide the support healthcare organizations need to thrive. Learn more about our compliance solution by connecting with our team or request a demo to see our solution in action.



Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (n.d). Complaince Assistance Quick Retrieved from

Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (n.d). Worker Safety in Hospitals. Retrieved from

Get started today!

Thousands of providers like you supercharge their front office with Practice Management Bridge. Schedule a call to see how we can help reduce admin work, so you can focus on your patients.

Book a Demo