Scott Harris, PhD, MSPH, Occupational Health & Risk Management Consultant(UL (Workplace Health and Safety division))
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Healthcare is a rapidly growing industry, and its jobs are among the most risky in the nation. A tradition of caring and giving patient safety top priority has placed healthcare workers at a disadvantage in terms of protecting their own health and well-being. This is a wakeup call for healthcare. OSHA is using blunt language in characterizing healthcare as very poor safety performers. With 16+ million employees across thousands of sites, incident rates far higher than general industry norms, low inspection rates, complaints driving half of hospital inspections and millions of HAI infections and 99,000 fatalities per year, healthcare makes an attractive target. The new emphasis programs for nursing homes, residential care facilities and ASCs / clinics are probably just the beginning. An industry view of TJC accreditation as the only program that matters combined with the relative lack of OSHA inspections and low penalties has marginalized occupational health and safety programs within healthcare, created high incidence rates and nurtured the myths discussed in this paper. Healthcare may see OSHA as an abstract concept, but OSHA has marked healthcare as a high-hazard industry.
The poor RFI response rate only strengthens OSHA’s perception that healthcare is not serious about infection control. The setting begs for regulatory intervention, which OSHA asserts in the RFI was very successful in similar circumstances for bloodborne pathogens and TB. There are no healthcare exemptions to the OSHA requirements, and years of operating under the honor system haven’t worked. Healthcare must put the same emphasis on OSHA programs as they currently give The Joint Commission. To do otherwise is negligence.
Who Should Participate
HR Directors, healthcare employees and their managers; safety managers, infection control officers and Environment of Care (EOC) managers
What You Will Learn
1) The facts behind debunked healthcare OSHA myths
2) Conditions within healthcare that have led to OSHA scrutiny
3) Relate OSHA inspection priorities to healthcare
4) The implications of OSHA and healthcare disconnects
http://www.puresafety.com/public/sites/default/files/TrackerFall2011_Web.pdf (see article OSHA IN HEALTHCARE - IS A STORM COMING?"
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