Out of Sight & Out of Mind?
Health care might feel exempt,
but it looks like we finally got OSHA’s attention.
This is a wake-up call for health care. OSHA is using blunt language in characterizing health care 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 infections and 99,000 fatalities per year, health care 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 health care, created high incidence rates, and nurtured the myths discussed in this paper. Health care may see OSHA as an abstract concept, but OSHA has marked health care as a high-hazard industry.
The poor RFI response rate only strengthens OSHA’s perception that health care 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 health care exemptions to the OSHA requirements, and years of operating under the honor system haven’t worked. Health care must put the same emphasis on OSHA programs as they currently give The Joint Commission. To do otherwise is negligence. Read the full article by Scott Harris on ohsonline.com,here.
Synopsis taken from oshonline.com April 1, 2012