OSHA just launched a new Worker Safety in Hospitals website can help hospitals protect their workers, improve patient safety and reduce costs. The site includes a variety of resources to help prevent worker injuries, assess workplace safety needs, enhance safe patient handling programs and implement safety and health management systems. The materials include fact books, self-assessments and best practice guides.
The time is right for this resource. In 2012, U.S. hospitals recorded 250,000 work-related injuries and illnesses, almost 60,000 of which caused employees to miss work. Nationwide, workers' compensation losses result in a total annual expense of $2 billion for hospitals.
The website's materials on safe patient handling are designed to address the most common type of injuries hospital workers face. The materials are drawn from high-performing hospitals that have implemented best practices to reduce workplace injuries while also improving patient safety, says OSHA.
"By fostering research to identify injury risk factors and safety interventions, steps can be taken to save costs and enhance service to the patients,” said Dr. John Howard, director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
Hospital workers commonly face serious hazards, including: lifting and moving patients, workplace violence, slips and falls, exposure to chemicals and hazardous drugs, exposures to infectious diseases and needlesticks.