OSHA’s New Hospital Safety Website Aims for Safer Stays for Patients and Safer Conditions for Workers

On January 15th, OSHA launched its new educational web resource aimed at hospitals. Filled with materials to prevent worker injuries, the webpage was developed as a way of improving working conditions. The resources will complement systems already in place in medical facilities.

The focus until now was to improve conditions for patients. OSHA recognized a need for improving conditions for workers. After all, they’re the ones directly involved with patient care. According to survey findings, “At least half of U.S. hospitals’ workers still don’t feel their workplaces are safe, and it’s been too common for hospital workers who make mistakes to be disciplined, rather than for the hospital administrators to address system issues that contribute to the mistakes.”

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there are over 18 million workers in the healthcare industry. It is singlehandedly the fastest-growing sector of the US economy. It is also the most risky. “Cases of nonfatal occupational injury and illness among healthcare workers are among the highest of an industry sector. By contrast, two of the most hazardous industries, agriculture and construction, are safer today than they were a decade ago.”

The National Safety Council reports that “Work injuries (fatal and nonfatal) per death without employers’ uninsured costs $45,600,000 and with employers’ uninsured costs $48,300,000.” This data is based on estimations of the average costs of fatal and nonfatal unintentional injuries. It helps shed light on the economic toll these types of events have on the nation and determine the importance and effectiveness of prevention work.

OSHA’s site aims to provide hospital staff with the materials that they need to handle patients safely as well as access to health management systems, fact books, self-assessments, and best practice guides. This type of information and support can help employees better determine whether a situation poses a threat to their safety. By exercising proper lift and transportation techniques, hospital staff can avoid many of the accidents that occur on the clock.

OSHA is trying to eliminate the number of workplace injuries that occur in hospital settings which ultimately reduces costs. A personal injury lawsuit or worker’s compensation lawsuit can cost a company tremendously.Moving patients is one of the leading hazards for the industry. It causes back injuries because many hospital workers are alone when lifting and transporting.

Video modeling, although time consuming and costly, is a proven way to reduce accidents according to study results. The OSHA website directed at hospital workers contains this type of resource which makes proper training easy and cost-effective. Having someone observe hospital workers lifting can provide valuable feedback that prevents accidents from occurring to staff and patients alike.

Other areas of concern include workplace violence, slip and fall accidents, exposure to dangerous drugs and chemicals, infectious diseases and needlesticks.Hospitals can avoid personal injury lawsuits and worker’s compensation lawsuits by providing staff to educational tools like OSHA’s site.

One of the most effective ways to deal with needlesticks, blood, and other bodily floods is to use universal precautions with each. What that means is this, medical staff should treat all human blood and certain human body fluids as if they were known to be infectious for HIV, HBV, and other bloodborne pathogens. This is one of the tips included on OSHA’s website.

Accidents are preventable and fewer employee injuries will benefit hospitals in a number of different ways. Rather than pay exorbitant amounts of money for worker’s compensation and lawsuits, the healthcare industry can spend more on training and less on settlements which benefits both the employee and the patient.

About the Author:

Donald Jaburek of Pope & Jaburek, P.C. in Chicago, Illinois is a personal injury attorney with decades of experience. Mr. Jaburek focuses his practice on motor vehicle accidents, workplace injuries, slip and fall, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and most other types of injury cases.