OSHA announces NEP for nursing and residential care facilities
OSHA has launched a new National Emphasis Program (NEP) for Nursing and Residential Care Facilities in an effort to reduce occupational illnesses and injuries. that are common in medical industries. NEPs focus outreach efforts and inspections on specific hazards in an industry for a three-year period.
In 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing and residential care facilities experienced one of the highest rates of lost workdays due to injuries and illnesses of all major American industries. The incidence rate for cases involving days away from work in the nursing and residential care sector was 2.3 times higher than that of all private industry as a whole, despite the availability of feasible controls to address hazards. The data further indicate that an overwhelming proportion of the injuries within this sector were attributed to overexertion as well as to slips, trips and falls. Taken together, these two categories accounted for 62.5 percent of cases involving days away from work within this industry in 2010. For this NEP, OSHA will target facilities with a days-away-from-work rate of 10 or higher per 100 full-time workers.
Health care workers face numerous serious safety and health hazards, and the NEP will provide guidance to OSHA compliance staff on the policies and procedures for targeting and conducting inspections specifically focused on the hazards associated with nursing and residential care. These hazards include exposure to blood and other potentially infectious material; exposure to other communicable diseases such as tuberculosis; ergonomic stressors related to lifting patients; workplace violence; and slips, trips and falls. Workers also may be exposed to hazardous chemicals and drugs.
Click here to view the NEP directive. Information for employers and employees in nursing homes and residential care facilities, including guidance on ergonomics and workplace violence, is available at www.osha.gov/SLTC/nursinghome/index.html.