The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration

recently announced that the agency is expanding its use of enforcement resources in hospitals

and nursing homes. The expansion of resources will focus on: musculoskeletal disorders related

to patient or resident handling; bloodborne pathogens; workplace violence; tuberculosis; and

slips, trips, and falls. These are some of the most common areas of workplace injuries and illness

in the healthcare industry, which is why they are being targeted. U.S. hospitals had 6.4 work-

related injuries and illness for every 100 full-time employees, which is almost twice as high as

the overall rate for private industry. This has been the impetus for this focus.

“Workers who take care of us when we are sick or hurt should not be at such high risk for

injuries — that simply is not right. Workers in hospitals, nursing homes and long-term care

facilities have work injury and illness rates that are among the highest in the country, and

virtually all of these injuries and illnesses are preventable,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant

secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. “OSHA has provided employers with

education, training and resource materials, and it’s time for hospitals and the health care industry

to make the changes necessary to protect their workers.”

If you are in the healthcare industry, it is important to take note of this focus and understand how

it could impact your business; you do not want to be on the receiving end of an audit from

OSHA. So if you have not recently reviewed your occupational safety and health policies and

procedures, it is important to do so.

If you are in the healthcare industry and are unsure of how this new emphasis impacts you or if

you need help in updating your policies and procedures, please contact us. If you have anything

to add about the importance of updating occupational safety and health policies and procedures

for companies in healthcare, please leave a comment.