Valerie Butera Quoted in “New Hospital Safety Inspection Emphases Stem from Longtime Pressure from Advocates”

Inside OSHA Online

Valerie Butera, Member of the Firm in the Labor and Employment practice, in the Washington, DC, office, was quoted in “New Hospital Safety Inspection Emphases Stem from Longtime Pressure from Advocates” in Inside OSHA Online. (Read the full article - subscription required.)

Following is an excerpt:

“Many people have asked me why OSHA is doing this now,” says Valerie Butera, an attorney with Epstein Becker Green, in an email. “The Ebola crisis late last year gave nurses and nursing unions a platform with OSHA that enabled them to point out a great many workplace hazards in healthcare, and OSHA listened.”

“I believe this, combined with the liberal use of the general duty clause by OSHA under the Obama administration, combined to cause OSHA to target inpatient healthcare facilities,” she says. “What is remarkable about this is that OSHA is redirecting substantial resources to target enforcement at inpatient care facilities, which have not been subject to much OSHA scrutiny in the past. And OSHA is not just focused on bloodborne pathogens anymore -- in fact, I suspect that musculoskeletal injuries will lead to the greatest number of citations in this initiative.”

Developments including OSHA’s successful exercise of the general duty clause in high-profile cases such as the Walmart trampling case (see related story) have motivated OSHA officials to use the statutory section more aggressively, and they are feeling more confident about it, she argues.