The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced a new inspection initiative to decrease workplace harm to healthcare workers following the release of data that reports an increase in the already high rate of nonfatal injuries to nursing aides, orderlies and attendants.
OSHA moves to tackle workplace injuries
The data, released Wednesday, found that the rate of injuries for those three healthcare job categories increased 6% in 2010 to 283 cases per 10,000 full-time workers—more than double the rate of 118 cases per 10,000 for all public and private employees overall.
“It is unacceptable that the workers who have dedicated their lives to caring for our loved ones when they are sick are the very same workers who face the highest risk of work-related injury and illness,” Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, said in a written statement.
Michaels said the increase has caused the Labor Department to launch the National Emphasis Program on Nursing Home and Residential Care Facilities, which will increase inspection activities, particularly with regard to back injuries, blood-borne pathogens, workplace violence and falls.
Regarding hospitals, Modern Healthcare reported last month that incidents of violence in hospitals appear to be rising, and that 2009 data on workplace injuries involving days away from work show that hospital nurses face higher chances of being assaulted on the job than taxi drivers or bartenders.
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