Nurses in South Carolina work in one of the country’s most dangerous occupations. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there are more workplace injuries reported by health care workers than workers in any other general industry segment. To combat this problem, the OSHA enforcement director announced that its National Emphasis Program on Nursing and Residential Care Facilities would be extended.
The federal agency plans to use enforcement measures and other strategies to address the many workplace hazards that health care workers face while caring for patients. Much of OSHA’s focus will be placed on the musculoskeletal disorders that affect health care workers who regularly lift patients. OSHA will also address workplace hazards like exposure to bloodborne pathogens and slips, trips and falls.
The ergonomic injuries that are suffered by nurses have been getting a lot of media attention recently. An NPR series called ‘Injured Nurses” tells stories about some of the nurses who are hurt while moving patients. Although lifting equipment is not mandatory in health care facilities, OSHA says that it plans to investigate whether the facilities are using this equipment. Their use by the Veterans Health Administration helped to reduce nursing injuries by about 40 percent.
Lifting a heavy patient without the aid of lifting equipment can cause devastating injuries. A nurse who has suffered from spinal injuries on the job may have lost mobility and be unable to return to work. Injured nurses and other health care professionals may want to obtain the assistance of an attorney in preparing and filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits after the injury.