OSHA Regulations and Resources

In 2011, U.S. hospitals recorded 58,860 work-related injuries and illnesses for hospital employees-meaning that, in terms of lost-time case rates, it is more hazardous to work in a hospital than in construction or manufacturing. Hospital work involves a variety of hazardous activities, including lifting and repositioning patients, violence, needlesticks, and additional concerns.

Hospitals can be a dangerous place, due to the fast-paced and unpredictable environment; luckily, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a variety of resources available to protect workers. Available materials covers subjects including understanding the safety problem, safety and health management systems, and safe patient handling.

According to OSHA regulations, the first step to resolving workplace injuries is understanding the problem. Did you know that 48 percent of injuries in a hospital worker that occur outside of work are a result of overexertion from activities such as lifting, bending, and reaching?

These injuries, which are often musculoskeletal in nature, are usually related to patient handling. Safety in the workplace even affects patient care. Hospital workers suffering injury puts patients at risk or fall, bruises, and skin tears. A fatigued caregiver increases the risk of medication errors and patient infections. What’s more, injuries and illnesses come at a high cost to hospitals.

If a worker is injured, the institution is responsible for worker’s compensation and medical costs. The hospital also has to take care of temporary staffing, backfilling, and overtime for injured employees. The best solution to these problems is to prevent them.

OSHA believes that the best way to prevent workplace injuries is through a “comprehensive proactive safety and health management system.” Allowing a worker to become ill or injured can be hugely detrimental to the institution and hospital patients in addition to the injured worker.

Safety is the number one priority in a hospital environment, due to the unpredictable and potentially hazardous environment. That is why OSHA has made available a bevy of resources that supply ideas for safety and health management systems, including the core elements for the health and safety management plan and surveys to further understand how your hospital measures up in safety prevention.

In 2011, U.S. hospitals recorded 6.8 work-related injuries and illnesses for every 100 full-time employees. What’s more, these injuries are found to be largely related to patient interactions; 32.7 percent of recorded hospital worker injuries nationwide were found to be related to handling patients. Usually, injuries related to handling patients result in a musculoskeletal affliction.

That is why OSHA has placed importance on providing resources to help provide safe patient care. Safe patient handling programs can assist in preventing workplace injuries in hospitals, especially musculoskeletal injuries. Having the right data, evidence, examples, and resources can help ensure workplace safety. Safe patient handling not only helps prevent employee injury, but also helps provide improved patient care in hospitals.


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