The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced a new National Emphasis Program for Nursing and Residential Care Facilities to protect workers from serious safety and health hazards that are common in medical industries.
OSHA develops national emphasis programs to focus outreach efforts and inspections on specific hazards in an industry for a three-year period. Through this National Emphasis Program, OSHA will target nursing homes and residential care facilities in an effort to reduce occupational illnesses and injuries.
According to the department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing and residential care facilities experienced one of the highest rates of lost workdays due to injuries and illnesses of all major American industries (See our WC Issues by Industry Guide). The incidence rate for cases involving days away from work in the nursing and residential care sector was 2.3 times higher than that of all private industry as a whole, despite the availability of feasible controls to address hazards.
Health care workers face numerous serious safety and health hazards (Also for more information on issues affecting this field, see our Nursing Industry guide), and the National Emphasis Program will provide guidance to OSHA compliance staff on the policies and procedures for targeting and conducting inspections specifically focused on the hazards associated with nursing and residential care.
These hazards include exposure to blood and other potentially infectious material; exposure to other communicable diseases such as tuberculosis; ergonomic stressors related to lifting patients; workplace violence; and slips, trips and falls. Workers also may be exposed to hazardous chemicals and drugs.[WCx]
The National Emphasis Program directive can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/Directive_pdf/CPL_03-00-016.pdf. Information for employers and employees in nursing homes and residential care facilities, including guidance on ergonomics and workplace violence, is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/nursinghome/index.html.
Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations at Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and a part of the Amaxx team helping companies successfully reduce Workers Compensation Costs by 20% – 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com Contact:firstname.lastname@example.org
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