The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was busy this past summer, announcing a host of new enforcement priorities. Here we recap two: (1) combatting employee illness and injury at inpatient-care facilities; and (2) ensuring proper restroom access for transgender workers at all employer facilities.
Inpatient Care Employers Face an OSHA Inspection Ramp-Up
OSHA’s announced initiative regarding inpatient care facilities – e.g., hospitals and residential care/nursing homes – involves a plan by the Agency to:
- Expand the resources OSHA directs for inspections at these sites, and
- Direct inspectors to focus on five, recently identified “key hazard” areas: (1) musculoskeletal disorders related to patient and resident handling; (2) bloodborn pathogens; (3) workplace violence; (4) tuberculosis; and (5) slips, trips and falls.
An OSHA Directive to Regional Administrators and State Designees, which accompanied the press release announcing the Agency’s health care inpatient-facility initiative, provides guidance to OSHA investigators on how to detect each of the five, newly identified hazards. According to OSHA, these hazards are responsible for the bulk of all work-related employee illnesses and injuries occurring at hospitals and inpatient care facilities. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, Dr. David Michaels, has also advised that
“[v]irtually all of these injuries and illnesses are preventable,” and he warns:
It’s time for hospitals and the health care industry to make the changes necessary to protect their workers. Healthcare Release (emphasis added).
Continue Reading OSHA Sets Sights on Health Care Facilities & Transgender Restrooms