The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, also known as OSHA, promotes the security and safety of all employees in the workplace through the United States Department of Labor. Since 1971, the regulations put in place by this agency let workplaces and employers learn how to prevent accidents, falls, and on-the-job injuries as well as what to do if those injuries occur.
The Director of the Directorate of Enforcement for OSHA, Thomas Galassi, presented an addition to OSHA’s policies on April 2nd, 2015. This new “Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Service Workers” policy is meant to overwrite the National Emphasis on Nursing and Residential Care Facilities currently set in place to encompass even better care.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, also known as NIOSH, provided additional materials in conjunction with OSHA’s updated policies called the Hospital Respiratory Protection Toolkit. When working in certain facilities, especially those in the medical field, sometimes an employee can accidentally come into contact with potential disease-causing agents. This new toolkit gives employers step-by-step instructions on what to do if an employee comes across such infectious materials.
The OSHA policy has received this update due to the increase in both sickness and accidental injuries that those in the health care and medical field suffer from. Galassi stated that the medical field is more susceptible to these kinds of injuries compared to other workplaces. The worst risks, besides potential contact with diseases, include hazards like bloodborne pathogens, musculoskeletal problems from heavy lifting, and tuberculosis. Surprisingly, workplace violence is also prevalent.
OSHA Updated Regulations
With these updated regulations, OSHA plans on recommending that hospitals, doctor’s office, nursing homes, and similar facilities learn about these risks to create prevention methods. While OSHA is dedicated to decreasing the rates of violence in any workplace, including medical facilities, as of now, there are no specific regulations centering around this type of behavior. However, OSHA has adamantly announced that if it has to make more changes, it will amend its General Duty Clause to more thoroughly cover how to handle and erase matters of workplace violence.
Organizations that want to prevent hostile working environments by hiring the best employees should be using a professional background screening company.