Thursday, July 9, 2015

OSHA to Focus on MSDs, Workplace Violence & More During Healthcare Inspections

OSHA is expanding its use of enforcement resources in hospitals and nursing homes to target five key areas that contribute to workplace injury and illness in the healthcare industry. New guidelines add musculoskeletal disorders related to patient handling; bloodborne pathogens; workplace violence; tuberculosis; and slips, trips and falls as focus hazards for agency inspections conducted in inpatient healthcare settings.

According to OSHA inspection history and data released by Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare workers are consistently exposed to these hazards. Work injury and illness rates for hospital workers are among the highest in the country, says David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for OSHA. "OSHA has provided employers with education, training and resource materials, and it's time for hospitals and the healthcare industry to make the changes necessary to protect their workers," he continues.

Through a memorandum, OSHA has advised its compliance officers to address these focus hazards during all inspections of hospitals and nursing home facilities, including those prompted by complaints, referrals or severe injury reports. The guidance applies to all federal OSHA inspections of hospitals and nursing and residential care facilities. The memo to agency staff notes that state plans must also follow the new guidance.

For more information, visit OSHA’s website.