The estimated cost of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) for workers in the United States healthcare industry was $386 million in claims in 2008.
If you work in the industry, you know that there are not nationally recognized safety standards for lifted or transporting patients. Experts say that’s preventing OSHA from reducing the number of staff injuries that occur in hospital and nursing home settings, because the rules aren’t consistent. About twelve states have already implemented their own safety standards, but ideas and implementation vary from state to state.
According to an article posted on the Business Insurance website, Congress is reviewing legislation to “reduce worker musculoskeletal injuries by creating a national standard for the safe lifting and moving of patients in health care facilities.” It’s called The Nurse and Health Care Worker Protection Act of 2013 and it was introduced in late June. According to the article by Roberto Ceniceros, the legislation incorporates practices developed by a healthcare group in Maryland. The group included nurses, ergonomics experts, physical therapists, and other experts. They came up with best practices they believe could be used nationally in the healthcare industry.
What does it mean if national standards become law? It would mean OSHA would be able to review how the practices are implemented.