South Carolina residents may be interested in learning more about how the Occupational Health and Safety Administration has renewed its focus on nursing homes and health care facilities that may qualify for enforcement actions. The inpatient industry will be targeted by a new compliance initiative announced by OHSA on June 25. The new memorandum establishes guidance parameters for inspecting inpatient healthcare facilities.
The new initiative requires OSHA state llans and regional offices to evaluate illnesses or work-related injuries at nursing homes and target facilities for inspections. There are five critical hazards that compliance officers are instructed to look for, including musculoskeletal disorders, tuberculosis and bloodborne pathogens, as well as slips, trips and falls. Identifying any workplace violence is also a high priority for the revamped inspections at these inpatient facilities. When additional hazards are apparent, compliance officers are expected to expand the scope of their inspection.
Some of the hazards that may warrant a more expansive investigation include exposure to hazardous drugs, hazardous chemicals or multi-drug resistant organisms. Hazardous chemicals may include anesthetic gases, disinfectants and sanitizers. Even without specific regulations, compliance officers may use the general duty clause to issue citations to employers who are providing an unsafe working environment for employees. According to OSHA, virtually any facility with inpatient services may be subjected to the new wave of inspections.
Employees who have suffered an illness or injury due to unsafe working conditions may benefit from consulting a lawyer. Legal counsel may be prepared to investigate the incident and help determine whether or not the employer, or a third party, may be found responsible for the workplace injuries.