State laws Injury prevention Musculoskeletal disorders Health care/social assistance

Cal/OSHA proposes safe patient handling standard

Sacramento, CA – California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health has proposed a new standard on safe patient handling for part of the health care industry.

The Hospital Patient and Heath Care Worker Injury Protection Act, enacted in 2011, requires acute care hospitals to adopt safe practices for handling patients as part of an Injury and Illness Prevention Program. The standard, published Aug. 2, would implement the law.

The standard was issued after Washington-based advocacy group Public Citizen issued a report in July calling on federal OSHA to issue a similar regulation to protect health care workers from musculoskeletal disorders, which occur when employees are exposed to ergonomic hazards.

Comments on the standard are due Sept. 13. A public hearing is scheduled to take place Sept. 19 in Oakland, CA.