Hospitals’ Heavy Lifting: Understanding OSHA’s New Hospital Worker and Patient Safety Guidance, in AHLA’s Labor & Employment Newsletter

James Frank, a Member of the Firm in the Health Care and Life Sciences, Litigation, and Labor and Employment practices, and Serra Schlanger, an Associate in the Health Care and Life Sciences practice, co-wrote an article titled "Hospitals' Heavy Lifting: Understanding OSHA's New Hospital Worker and Patient Safety Guidance."

Following is an excerpt:

On January 15, 2014 the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched a new online resource to address both worker and patient safety in hospitals.

According to OSHA, a hospital is one of the most dangerous places to work, as employees can face numerous serious hazards from lifting and moving patients, to exposure to chemical hazards and infectious diseases, to potential slips, trips, falls, and potential violence by patients—all in a dynamic and ever-changing environment. In 2011 private hospitals reported nearly 60,000 cases of injury or illness that resulted in days away from work, and OSHA believes many more injuries in hospitals go unreported because most hospital employees are health care professionals uniquely able to self-treat their workplace injuries. ?...

OSHA's web resource includes a general self-assessment tool, a hospital safety and health management system self-assessment questionnaire, and a safe patient handling self-assessment to help hospital administrators determine the safety of their workplaces. The resource also includes a comparison of OSHA Safety and Health Management Systems and The Joint Commission Standards, as well as a checklist for creating a safe patient handling program.