Alert for nursing homes and residential care facilities: OSHA launches emphasis program

Iowa Employment & Labor Law Dickinson Law Firm Des Moines Iowa

Posted on 11/29/2011 at 10:14 AM by The Newsroom

Due to increased injuries and illnesses among health care support workers in 2010, OSHA has announced it is launching a National Emphasis Program on Nursing Home and Residential Care Facilities over the next few months.  This initiative will increase OSHA inspections of such facilities.  OSHA intends to focus its inspections on back injuries resulting from resident handling or lifting, exposure to bloodborne pathogens and other infectious diseases, workplace violence, and slips, trips, and falls.  OSHA’s initiative is in response to statistics recently released by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.  With respect to nonfatal occupational illnesses and injuries requiring days away from work, data showed the incidence rate for health care support workers increased 6 percent in 2010.   This is nearly 2.5 times the rate for private- and public-sector workers.  The rate among nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants rose by 7 percent in 2010. The rate of musculoskeletal disorder cases with days away from work for nursing aides, orderlies and attendants increased by 10 percent. Nursing homes and residential care facilities would be wise to revisit their policies and procedures with respect to these areas, as well as employee training and compliance efforts.

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