Are You Staying Ahead of OSHA at Your Healthcare Facility?

June 24, 2014


Are You Staying Ahead of OSHA at Your Healthcare Facility?

Benjamin Franklin really knew what he was talking about when he so famously said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Still, we could revise it to say “An ounce of prevention is worth of a year full of headaches,” and facilities managers would completely understand what it means in that modern context too.

Over the past year in this space, we’ve discussed prevention a number of times, including slips and falls, drug-resistant bacteria and medication safety zone guidelines.

More than any other setting, hospitals appear to be among the most unsafe places to work. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), more than 250,000 workplace illnesses and injuries occurred, and nearly 60,000 of them required employees to miss work in 2012.

What’s more, the loss of skilled employees to avoidable problems spill over to expensive costs, including workers compensation — $2 billion for hospitals alone — temp staffing, backfilling and overtime. (That price tag doesn’t take into account problems that put the lives and health of patients at risk from falls, torn skin, bruises and fractures either.)

With all of those costs dancing in their heads, facilities managers will want to spend time reviewing OSHA’s Worker Safety in Hospitals website launched earlier this year.

Populated by best practice guides, fact books and self-assessments, the website is divided into three major areas:

  • Understanding the problem by learning more about a hospital’s unique environment.
  • Utilizing the core elements that make up good safety and health management systems, including hazard identification, assessment, prevention and control.
  • Employing safe patient handling by “busting the myths” and conducting ongoing management and evaluation.

“At the heart of these materials are the lessons from high-performing hospitals that have implemented best practices to reduce workplace injuries while also improving patient safety,” says Dr. John Howard, director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Facilities managers will have their work cut out for them to develop a worker safety plan, based on a comprehensive list of the top 10 most common OSHA violations released in a 2012 report.

  1. Bloodborne pathogens
  2. Hazard communication
  3. Forms
  4. General requirements (standard 19100303)
  5. Annual summary
  6. General recording criteria
  7. Wiring methods, components and equipment
  8. Respiratory protection
  9. Maintenance, safeguards and features for exit routes
  10. General requirements (standard 1910032)

For help with developing an effective worker safety program at your healthcare facility, contact Vanguard Resources.