Healthcare workers experienced a whopping 249% increase in injury and illness rates in 2020, and OSHA is now calling on employers in the industry to implement proactive safety and health programs to keep those workers safe.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, workers in the healthcare and social assistance industries combined suffered more injuries and illnesses than workers in any other industry in the U.S.
Now, OSHA wants healthcare employers to take immediate action to help make 2022 a less hazardous year for workers in the industry, according to a Department of Labor news release.
One good way to combat workplace injuries and illnesses is to adopt a proactive safety and health program to address hazards, endorse training and use preventive measures to keep employees safe and healthy.
KS hospital shining example
An example of how effective such a program can be is Community Hospital Onaga, a Kansas-based facility that’s part of the Community HealthCare System’s nonprofit healthcare system.
The hospital contacted OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program about enhancing workplace safety in 2000.
Following visits from program staff, the hospital corrected all hazards inspectors identified and then continued to improve its safety and health programs.
SHARP status renewed 8 times
By December 2002, OSHA awarded the facility Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) status, and the hospital has since kept its injury-and-illness rates below the industry average.
The facility’s SHARP status has been renewed eight times, with its most recent achievement having occurred in June 2021.
“As COVID-19 spread, Community HealthCare System implemented a plan to protect employees and clients,” OSHA’s acting Regional Administrator Ryan Hodge said. “Other healthcare systems can follow their model by encouraging a mindset that anticipates and addresses hazards before they cause harm.”