Capitol HillThe U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics has released detailed data on nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work in 2010.

The incidence rate for health care support workers increased 6 percent to 283 cases per 10,000 full-time workers, almost 2 1/2 times the rate for all private and public sector workers at 118 cases per 10,000 full-time workers.

The rate among nursing aides, orderlies and attendants rose 7 percent, to 489 per 10,000 workers.

Additionally, the rate of musculoskeletal disorder cases with days away from work for nursing aides, orderlies and attendants increased 10 percent to a rate of 249 cases per 10,000 workers.

OSHA chief Dr. David Michaels said in response to the rising rates, his agency will launch in the next few months a National Emphasis Program on Nursing Home and Residential Care Facilities.

OSHA inspections of these facilities will increase, focusing on back injuries from resident handling or lifting patients; exposure to bloodborne pathogens and other infectious diseases; workplace violence; and slips, trips and falls.
“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,” said Michaels.