- OSHA Healthcare Advisor - http://blogs.hcpro.com/osha -

SAFETY WEEK: Preventing slips, trips and falls

If you haven’t already, you should check out OSHA’s new Web site dedicated solely for hospitals and preventing worker injuries.

The new “educational web resource,” which was released Jan. 15 in a press conference, is designed as an online tool with materials to help hospitals prevent worker injuries, assess workplace safety needs, enhance safe patient handling programs and implement safety and health management systems.

See the Web site at https://www.osha.gov/dsg/hospitals/ [1].

Workers in the healthcare industry have some of the highest numbers of workplace injuries in the country, and it’s not getting better. According to some estimates, some 650,000 healthcare workers are injured every year, and that’s 150,000 more than the next closest industry – manufacturing.

The new website, called “Worker Safety in Hospitals: Caring for Our Caregivers,” is a complete separate section of the OSHA website that focuses mostly on education and resources geared towards understanding the importance and problems of worker safety.

While most healthcare professionals are aware of the inherent risks, perhaps they don’t know just how dangerous the jobs can be. A section on “Understanding the Problem” breaks the hazards down by injuries using fact books containing colorful graphics and photos. Information is available in downloadable PDF files.

An entire section of the site is devoted to safe patient handling skills, an activity which is considered one of the most dangerous that healthcare workers face. Visitors can start by reading case studies about successes that hospitals have had after introducing safe patient handling programs in their facilities, and a downloadable checklist is a good start for assessing a hospitals patient handling situation. Finally, there is a Q&A about myths surrounding the costs of mechanical patient handling equipment and culture changes, as well as customizable posters to educate patients and their families on the patient handling processes in a facility.

One of the most impressive, and perhaps most helpful features of the site, is several case studies with hospitals across the U.S. that have instituted safe patient handling programs in their facilities, and the results they gotten from them.