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Nursing, Residential Care is High-Hazard Industry

Last week OSHA announced a new National Emphasis Program for Nursing and Residential Care Facilities. The program is designed to protect workers from serious safety and health hazards that are common in this line of work.

Charlene Sitterly

Charlene Sitterly -- Program Director, USF SafetyFlorida

OSHA’s increased emphasis on hazards identified in nursing and residential facilities includes exposures to bloodborne pathogens, infectious materials and diseases; tuberculosis; workplace violence; ergonomic stressors related to lifting patients; and slips, trips and falls.

Who is affected? In an April 5 memo to OSHA Regional Administrators, Assistant Secretary for OSHA Dr. David Michaels listed NAICS codes 623110—Nursing Care Facilities, 623210—Residential Mental Retardation Facilities, and 623311—Continuing Care Retirement Communities. Small employers within these categories will receive the highest priority for targeted inspections and outreach efforts, and are now classified as high-hazard industries.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing aides, orderlies and attendants “had the highest rate of musculoskeletal disorders of all occupations in 2010.” Compared to the average musculoskeletal disorder rate of all workers in 2010—34 per 10,000 workers —nursing aides, orderlies and attendants had a rate of 249 per 10,000 workers that same year, more than 80 percent higher.

What can you do if your company is within these NAICS codes--623110, 623210 and 623311? Contact us and we will help you review your safety and health management system. Through a comprehensive on-site analysis, we will analyze your existing written safety and health plans, engineering and administrative controls, safety and health education and training, and employee work practices. This analysis is free and completely confidential since consultation services are separate from OSHA enforcement. We will help your team identify workplace hazards and provide you with solutions on how to mitigate and correct any deficient areas. Don’t delay. It can be the difference between an OSHA citation ... or not. For more information about OSHA’s new NEP, click here. To receive your free on-site safety and health analysis, visit us online at www.usfsafetyflorida.com.