OSHA's New Program on Health and Safety in Nursing Homes

OSHA's New Program on Health and Safety in Nursing Homes

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Non-fatal occupational injuries among healthcare workers are too high, says OSHA; and nursing homes are the first places the agency is going to scrutinize.

According to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the incidence rate for healthcare support workers last year increased 6% to 283 cases per 10,000 full-time workers. That is almost 2 1/2 times the average rate for all private and public sector industries. The rate among nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants rose even higher, 7%, to 489 per 10,000 workers.

Assistant Secretary for OSHA Dr. David Michaels called this situation "unacceptable," and announced that the agency will in the next few months launch a National Emphasis Program on Nursing Home and Residential Care Facilities.

"The program will increase inspections of facilities and focus on back injuries from patient handling or lifting; exposure to bloodborne pathogens and other infectious diseases; workplace violence; and slips, trips, and falls," according to Michaels.

Michaels added, "The workers that care for our loved ones deserve a safe workplace and OSHA is diligently working to make this happen."