The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a branch of the Department of Labor, has announced a new “National Emphasis Program for Nursing and Residential Care Facilities.” This initiative aims are protecting workers from safety and health hazards commonly found in the medical industry. OSHA creates national emphasis programs to target specific hazards in its outreach efforts and inspections in particular industries. Through the NEP, OSHA will focus on nursing homes and residential care facilities to reduce occupational disease and workplace injury.
Work Accidents and Occupation Illness
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010 marked one of the nation’s highest rates of lost workdays from to accidents and illnesses within nursing and residential care facilities. In fact, incidents resulting in days of missed work in the nursing and residential care industry was nearly two and a half times higher than rates in the private sector more generally, even though controls were in place to address hazards. The data further show a significant proportion of on-the-job-injuries resulting from overexertion, along with slip-and-fall accidents. As a whole, these two categories made up 63% of all cases requiring days away from work in the industry. As part of its campaign to reduce these incidents, OSHA will focus on facilities with a 10% incident rate among full-time workers.
According to Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for OSHA: “These are people who have dedicated their lives to caring for our loved ones when they are not well. It is not acceptable that they continue to get hurt at such high rates. Our new emphasis program for inspecting these facilities will strengthen protections for society’s caretakers.”
Health care workers are a risk from a number of serious safety risks, and the NEP will offer tools and guidance to staff on the proper steps for conducting inspections specifically focused on workplace hazards in nursing and residential care. These may include contact with blood and other infectious bodily fluids; exposure to communicable disease like TB; strains from moving and lifting patients; violence in the workplace; and slip-and-fall accidents.
The National Emphasis Program directive can be read in full here: http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/Directive_pdf/CPL_03-00-016.pdf*. More details for employers and staff in nursing homes and residential care facilities can be found at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/nursinghome/index.html.
Washington Workers’ Compensation Claims
If you have been injured at work, a Washington workers compensation lawyer at Emery Reddy can help manage your Labor and Industries claim and ensure that you get the maximum benefits allowed by Washington law. We also provide legal counsel for those who receive a rejected workers compensation claim or have a third party claim. Call a Seattle Employment attorney or an L&I Lawyer today for a free consultation