Healthcare workers suffer more injuries and illnesses on the job each year than those in any other industry, but the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) conducts relatively few inspections of healthcare facilities and is hamstrung in its ability to take action to resolve unsafe conditions.
That was the conclusion of a new report by Public Citizen which also identifies an absence of much needed safety standards in many healthcare institutions.
“OSHA is required by law to ensure safe conditions for every employee in the US,” said Keith Wrightson, worker safety and health advocate for Public Citizen, and a co-author of the report. “The record is clear that the government has broken its promise to healthcare workers.”
Nurses, nursing aides, orderlies and attendants suffer more musculoskeletal injuries than workers in any other field. Costs associated with back injuries in the healthcare industry are estimated to be more than $7 billion annually.
“Most Americans are not aware that hospitals and other medical facilities are actually the most frequent site for workplace injuries,” said Dr Toni Lewis, chair of the healthcare division of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which advised Public Citizen on the report.
“This is an issue that affects so many frontline workers and their patients – nurses, CNAs, radiologists, physical therapists – women and men who are trying to meet the needs of their patients safely and effectively. The current patchwork approach is not working for workers.”
To read the full report, go to http://www.citizen.org/health-care-workers-unprotected-report
healthcare, injury, conditions, OSHA,