The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) is taking a renewed and close look at the working conditions of long term care workers, as spelled out in a notice last week indicating they are more prone to certain hazards than other types of workers.
The agency announced a campaign targeted in the Mid-Atlantic region to help combat an increased likelihood of long term care workers to develop certain musculoskeletal disorders including sprains, strains, soft tissue and back injuries.
“The best control for MSDs is an effective prevention program,” said MaryAnn Garrahan, OSHA regional administrator in Philadelphia. “Our goal is to assist nursing homes and long-term care facilities in promoting effective processes to prevent injuries.”
Under the campaign, OSHA will raise awareness of the types of behaviors that take place in long term care settings that present occupational hazards such as lifting patients during transfers in nursing homes.
As part of the effort, the administration is providing 2,500 employers with information about controlling the hazards including information about a “zero-lift” program that utilizes equipment and other tools to prevent employees from becoming injured.
According to OSHA, there were more than 40,000 MSD cases among health care facility workers of private employers in 2010, with nursing aides, orderlies and attendants comprising 49% of the cases involving health care patients.
Written by Elizabeth Ecker