OSHA launches worker-patient safety resource for hospitals

A new Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) educational resource aims to help hospitals promote worker and patient safety and assess safety needs, according to EHS Today

In 2012, there were 250,000 work-related injuries and illnesses in U.S. hospitals, according to the article, and nearly 60,000 of them required employees to miss work. These injuries and illnesses cost hospitals $2 billion a year in workers' compensation, EHS Today reports.

That's why OSHA launched the hospital-specific Internet resource, which provides hospitals with self-assessments, best practice guides and fact books. The site also includes resources on the injuries most common to hospital workers, such as slips and falls, violence, overexertion and exposure to substances, and how to reduce the risk and the cost associated with them.

"These new materials can help prevent hospital worker injuries and improve patient safety, while reducing costs," said David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for OSHA, according to the article. "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."

Consumer advocacy group Public Citizen called for OSHA to take the safety efforts further by mandating safety and health management programs and standardizing safe patient handling. "The record is clear that injury and illness prevention programs have delivered a reduction in workplace injuries and illnesses," said Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch division, according to EHS Today. "We urge the agency to take the next step and make programs like this required in a rule, as well as setting a safe patient handling standard."

A report last July released by Public Citizen found that healthcare is the most dangerous occupation in the country, with more than 650,000 workplace injuries or illnesses in 2010, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- read the article
- check out the OSHA resource