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New OSHA resource seeks to prevent healthcare worker injuries

Saturday January 18, 2014
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The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched a new educational web resource, www.osha.gov/hospitals, with extensive materials to help hospitals prevent worker injuries, assess workplace safety needs, enhance safe patient handling programs and implement safety and health management systems.

The materials include fact books, self-assessments and best practice guides, according to an OSHA news release. “These new materials can help prevent hospital worker injuries and improve patient safety, while reducing costs,” David Michaels, PhD, MPH, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, said in the news release.

“At the heart of these materials are the lessons from high-performing hospitals that have implemented best practices to reduce workplace injuries while also improving safety.”

The website’s materials on safe patient handling are designed to address the most common type of injuries hospital workers face, and hospitals can use these resources to protect their workers, improve patient safety and reduce costs, according to the news release.

Hospital workers face serious hazards such as lifting and moving patients, workplace violence, slips and falls, exposure to chemicals and hazardous drugs, exposure to infectious diseases and needlesticks, OSHA noted. In 2012, U.S. hospitals recorded 250,000 work-related injuries and illnesses, almost 60,000 of which caused employees to miss work. Nationwide, workers’ compensation losses result in a total annual expense of $2 billion for hospitals.


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