National Emphasis Program Working to Protect Workers in Nursing and Residential Care Facilities

If you work in Nursing and Residential Care Facilities, we’ve got some good news for you. According to officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there’s a new National Emphasis Program (NEP) that is going to help to reduce some of the risks that these workers face on a daily basis.

Through this program, employers will be taught how to eliminate on-the-job hazards and officials will be conducting inspections throughout a three-year period in search of very specific hazards in this field. The NEP will help OSHA officials to target residential care facilities and nursing homes to help to reduce the risks of occupational accidents, injuries and illnesses among these giving and compassionate workers.
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Employees who work in nursing and residential care facilities experience some of the highest rates or lost work days because of illnesses and injuries sustained on the job. Their rates were a lot higher than many other American industries. These injuries and illnesses can be easily prevented, too.

Our North Carolina workers’ compensation attorneys understand that the incidence rate for these workers — where they had to spend time away from work because of a work accident — was nearly 3 times higher than that of those in the private industry. This number was still alarmingly high despite the improvement and the availability of feasible controls designed to help to reduce the risks of these dangers.

Many of the accidents experienced by workers in this industry were the result of slips, trips and falls as well as overexertion. If you combine the number of both slips, trips and falls with the number of overexertion accidents, the pair accounted for more than 62 percent of accident reports in which an employee had to take time off of work in 2010 in this field. With the NEP, officials will be targeting facilities with a DART rating of 10 or higher per 100 full-time workers.

“It is not acceptable that they continue to get hurt at such high rates,” said Dr. David Michaels, with OSH.

Officials are hoping that the new emphasis program and the threat of inspections by OSHA officials will help to get employers to improve employee protections and to do a better job at helping to protect society’s caretakers.

Those who work at these kinds of facilities face a number of serious health and safety hazards. Under the new NEP, employers will be offered guidance from OSHA officials regarding procedures and policies that can be used to target and conduct inspections to help to eliminate these dangers. Some of these hazards can include exposure to chemicals, exposure to drugs, ergonomic stressors from handling patients, communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, exposure to blood and other potentially infectious material, slips trips and falls and even workplace violence.

These workers are entitled to the same rights as any other worker in the country. They are to be provided with the proper safety equipment to help to reduce the risks of an accident or an illness. In fact, protective gear might be more important in this field than in many other industries.

Workers in this field are required to be extra careful on the job. They may not face some of the same work-related dangers that construction workers do, but their risks of on-the-job injuries can be just as serious. One wrong move can land one of these workers with a life-altering injury. It’s important to not only keep the safety of the residents and the patients a top priority, but to also keep the safety of the workers as a number one concern, too.

If you have been injured or killed in a fall accident in Asheville or elsewhere in the area, contact the Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Lee Law Offices, P.A. to set up a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-887-1965.

More Blog Entries:

Employee Rights in Asheville and Elsewhere Following Termination, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, July 11, 2012

Fall Accidents in Asheville and Elsewhere: Preventable On The Job, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, June 28, 2012

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