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Enhancing Safety of Hospital Workers Is Aim of New Federal Website

Jan 28, 2014, 12:00 PM

U.S. hospitals recorded 250,000 work-related injuries and illnesses in 2012, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and workers’ compensation expenses now reach $2 billion annually for hospitals. Lifting and moving patients, workplace violence, slips and falls, exposure to chemicals and hazardous drugs, exposure to infectious diseases, and needlesticks are among the serious hazards hospital workers face.

Fact books, self-assessments, and best practice guides are among the materials OSHA has assembled in a new Web resource, www.osha.gov/hospitals, designed to help hospitals prevent worker injuries, assess workplace safety needs, enhance safe patient handling programs, and implement safety and health management systems.

“These new materials can help prevent hospital worker injuries and improve patient safety, while reducing costs,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels, PhD, MPH, in a news release announcing the launch of the website. “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 patient safety.”

OSHA, a division of the U.S. Department of Labor, helps employers meet their obligation, under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, to provide safe and healthful workplaces.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.