Healthcare worker nonfatal injuries and illness is on the rise with an up to 10 percent increase in missed work days for certain jobs, according to the latest data released by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics yesterday. Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants saw a 7 percent increase in incidents (489 per 10,000 workers) with, more specifically, musculoskeletal disorder jumping by 10 percent (rate of 249 cases per 10,000 workers).
Healthcare support workers saw an incident increase of 6 percent (283 cases per 10,000 full-time workers), which is nearly two and a half times the rate for all private and public sector workers.
The alarming numbers call on healthcare organizations to provide secure, safe facilities for their workers.
"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 Assistant Secretary for the department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Dr. David Michaels.
In response, OSHA is launching the National Emphasis Program on Nursing Home and Residential Care Facilities initiative in the next few months. Among the initiative's goals are increased facility inspections and increased attention on workplace violence, accidents such as slips and falls, exposure to infectious diseases, and workers' handling and lifting of patients.
To learn more:
- read the OSHA press release
- read the EHS Today article
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