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OSHA To Record Hospital Staff Injury Incidents

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced that it would enact a rule requiring that healthcare facilities report hospital staff injury incidents. The agency also stated that it would enter these incidents into a searchable database. Each recorded hospital staff injury report will be made public and the database will allow healthcare workers to search by injury, illness or employer. The database is expected to help healthcare workers find which providers have the best records for handling hospital staff injury problems.

Hospital Staff Injury Rate Twice National Average

A report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the rate of hospital staff injury incidents in 2011 was nearly twice the national average. Hospitals filed more than 58,000 hospital staff injury reports in 2011. Nearly all of those incidents led to staffers missing at least one day of work. Almost half of those injuries were attributed to moving or lifting patients. The report speculated that the number of these injuries has increased due to hospital staff treating a higher number of overweight patients.

Hospital Staff Injury Records Not Yet Available

The OSHA rule would require that healthcare facilities send hospital staff injury reports via an online form. Facilities with over 250 employees would file quarterly reports, while those with 20 to 250 employees would submit data annually. The form data would go into the OSHA database and be available for search by both hospital workers and the general public. The current system has facilities storing their hospital staff injury reports on paper files, which are not available for the public or for workers to review.

Union Hails New Rule On Hospital Staff Injury Reports

Union leaders for the hospital workers welcomed the improved access the rule would bring to data on hospital staff injury incidents. Mark Catlin, health and safety director for the Service Employees International Union, said that the rule would “give everyone access” to vital data and would “make these kinds of problems more visible.” The SEIU serves more than a million healthcare workers, many of whom report their hospital staff injury incidents to their union.

Management Concerned Over Privacy With Hospital Staff Injury Reports

The implementation of the new rule has not met with universal approval. Some hospital management groups have expressed concerns that widely accessible hospital staff injury reports could hamper efforts to preserve patient privacy. A statement from the American Health Care Association said that its member facilities, which include long-term and post-acute care hospitals, are worried that public access to hospital staff injury incident reports and “the release of injury and illness data” could “intentionally or unintentionally” compromise sensitive patient information.

Source: Modern Healthcare Magazine

Know Your Rights in an Hospital Staff Injury Lawsuit

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