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OSHA crackdown could impact New Jersey patients

Due to the high number of workplaces injuries in the health care industry, OSHA has decided to continue its National Emphasis Program on Nursing and Residential Care Facilities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 6.6 percent of workers were involved in nonfatal accidents or fell ill while working in a hospital. That number jumped to 7.6 percent while working in a residential or nursing care facility. It is well above the 3.4 percent average of all private industries in general.

OSHA says that it is looking for ways to reduce ergonomic stressors in addition to slips, trips and falls. It will also probe the handling of pathogens and other hazardous materials. The goal is to reduce the incidence of musculoskeletal disorders due to lifting of patients and injuries suffered due to workplace violence. The renewed call for additional oversight comes in the wake of nurse grievances and national media reports.

In some cases, ceiling hoists and patient slings were not made available to nurses who had to physically lift patients weighing over 300 pounds. This is in contrast to other occupations where employees were never required to lift more than 35 pounds at any point while on the job.

Those who suffer from an injury or illness while on the job may want to consider filing workers' compensation claims. The benefits that are available may include the provision of necessary medical care and treatment as well as a percentage of wages lost when the injured victim is recovering and unable to work. Many who find themselves in this position find that the assistance of an attorney throughout the filing process can be valuable

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