Healthcare Workplace Injuries Prompt OSHA InvestigationJune 12, 2015
Federal safety investigators are looking into an increasing number of healthcare workplace injuries in hospitals, clinics and nursing homes. An enforcement director with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced that the agency may consider auditing and fining facilities that show a history of healthcare workplace injuries. The National Emphasis Program on Nursing and Residential Care Facilities will extend its investigation into injuries suffered by nurses and other healthcare workers.
Healthcare Workplace Injuries Surpass Oil, Construction
A report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that healthcare workplace injuries occur at a much higher rate than workplace injuries in other industries. The report shows that healthcare workers suffer injuries at a higher rate than industries with more inherent dangers, such as oil drilling and construction. The rate for nonfatal healthcare workplace injuries and injuries was 6.6 percent in hospitals and 7.6 percent in residential care facilities and nursing homes, more than double the national average.
Types of Healthcare Workplace Injuries
Some of the more prevalent healthcare workplace injuries occur when workers slip and fall on wet surfaces. Others frequently happen when workers are exposed to biohazards or pathogens. In some facilities, violence by patients or their families against healthcare workers has led to workplace injuries. The most frequent type of healthcare workplace injuries involve lifting patients in and out of beds. The growing obesity epidemic has caused nurses and other healthcare workers to suffer pulled muscles, spinal damage and crushing injuries.
NPR Report Examines Healthcare Workplace Injuries
A recent report from National Public Radio probed into the increasing problem of healthcare workplace injuries. The NPR reporter interviewed Tove Schuster, a Philadelphia-area nurse. Ms. Schuster found that a 300-pound female patient had fallen out of bed. She and her colleagues attempted to lift the patient back into bed when she felt a “pop” in her back. A later exam revealed that she damaged a disc in her spine, which required the implantation of a metal support device driven into her vertebrae by four long metal screws.
Healthcare Workplace Injuries Investigation May Bring Fines
The OSHA investigation will examine how hospitals and care facilities handle healthcare workplace injuries. The probe will determine if facilities have adequate lift-assisting equipment, procedures and training. OSHA will also look at how to prevent other sources of healthcare workplace injuries, such as preventing and training for situations that could escalate into workplace violence. Facilities that fail to comply with the guidelines from the probe could face safety audit and hefty fines.
Source: Healthcare Finance News
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