The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) is cracking down on injuries to nurses and other healthcare staff members. In particular, OSHA inspectors will monitor and investigate hospital efforts to prevent injuries to nurses during patient lifting.
The agency has issued recommendations in the past for avoiding lifting injuries in healthcare settings, but the new statement from OSHA makes clear that healthcare providers can be fined for noncompliance. The stronger enforcement stance comes after an April 2015 report that found a sharp increase in healthcare workplace injuries.
In announcing the crackdown, the agency noted that hospitals have acknowledged the threat of injuries while lifting patients and encouraged “body mechanics” strategies, such as straight-backed, knees-bent lifting. However, OSHA said research indicates that these methods are not enough to prevent injuries. It says the only proven method thus far is using special equipment to lift patients.
OSHA has advised its staff members through a memorandum that all inspections of hospitals and nursing home facilities, including those prompted by complaints, referrals, or severe injury reports, should include the review of potential hazards related to the following categories:
- patient handling;
- bloodborne pathogens;
- workplace violence;
- slips, trips, and falls.
You can see the memorandum at http://tinyurl.com/nokcbgn.