The United States Department of Labor is urging healthcare facilities and their providers to employ more effective safety and health programs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. healthcare workers saw a 249% increase in injury and illness rates in 2020. In fact, workers in the healthcare and social assistance industries combined, suffered more injuries and illnesses than workers in any industry in the nation.
According to a news release, as the nation prepares to observe National Caregivers Day on February 18, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration calls on healthcare employers, and those in related industries, to take immediate actions to help make 2022 less hazardous and reduce worker injuries and illnesses.
“Healthcare workers routinely face the risks associated with exposures to bloodborne pathogens, drug residue, X-ray machines, respiratory illness and ergonomic injuries related to lifting patients and repetitive tasks,” said OSHA’s acting Regional Administrator Ryan Hodge in Kansas City, Missouri. “Our nation’s caregivers have made extraordinary sacrifices in recent years – putting themselves on the frontline in a pandemic – and we owe it to them to ensure their employers are doing all they can to protect their employees.”
The most effective way to combat workplace illnesses and injuries is to institute a proactive safety and health program in tandem with comprehensive training. Programs such as the Safety & Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) recognize small business who have used on-site consultation services from OSHA.
“Participating in OSHA’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program helps companies anticipate hazards and take initiative,” Hodge added. “As COVID-19 spread, Community HealthCare System implemented a plan to protect employees and clients. Other healthcare systems can follow their model by encouraging a mindset that anticipates and addresses hazards before they cause harm.
The U.S. Department of Labor is urging healthcare employers to take immediate actions to help make 2022 less hazardous and reduce healthcare worker injuries and illnesses.