OSHA to launch nursing home NEP

Washington – OSHA administrator David Michaels announced an upcoming National Emphasis Program on nursing home and residential care facilities in response to recent figures showing an increase in injuries requiring days away from work in the health care industry.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics figures released Nov. 9, health care support workers suffered 283 injuries requiring days away from work per 10,000 full-time workers in 2010, a 6 percent increase from the previous year and nearly 2.5 times the rate for all private- and public-sector workers. The rate among nursing aides, orderlies and attendants was even higher – 489 per 10,000 workers, a 7 percent increase from 2009.

“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,” Michaels said in a press release.

The NEP will launch “in the next few months,” according to Michaels, and OSHA will focus on back injuries from patient handling; bloodborne pathogen exposure; workplace violence; and slips, trips and falls.

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