South Carolina inpatient workers may benefit from stricter OSHA guidelines regarding the investigation of inpatient care and nursing home facilities. Until a 2015 announcement by th Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, the federal agency did not focus on such facilities. Those workplaces with a high incidents of work-related injuries and illnesses will face the greatest risk of being investigated.
OSHA compliance officers have been instructed to focus on such major hazards as workplace violence, musculoskeletal disorders that can occur when moving or handling patients, bloodborne pathogens, tuberculosis and accidental falls and slips caused by hazards in the workplace. Officers are encouraged to examine their investigation if, while investigating an incident, they discover the presence of additional hazards. For example, if a compliance officer is investigating a workplace fall and discovers exposure to hazardous chemicals during the course of the investigation, the scope of the investigation may be expanded.
Hospitals, nursing homes, substance abuse clinics and other inpatient facilities are all subject to the new OSHA policies. In fact, OSHA has kept policy guidelines broad enough to apply to any facility that offers inpatient care. Those facilities with the most work-related injuries are targeted for investigation. The changes have also resulted in an increase in fines as investigators find multiple infractions.
South Carolina workers who are injured in a workplace accident may be eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim. Benefits can include medical care and treatment as well as a replacement of a percentage of wages lost during the recovery period. If the accident was caused by the negligence of a non-employer third party, in some cases an attorney can assist in filing a separate personal injury lawsuit as well.