Hospital workplace injuries are more common than the public knows. According to Modern Healthcare, hospital employers don’t have to release information related to injuries and illnesses in the workplace. However, keeping internal records is required.
OSHA is set to finalize a ruling later this year to report work-related illnesses and injuries in hospitals. These reports will then be made public through an online OSHA system that will enable anyone to search a specific work site or agency. The search engine would include:
- How many injuries and illnesses occur in each place.
- The title of the affected employee.
- The circumstances related to each incident.
Hospitals are one of the most hazardous places to be employed. U.S. hospitals recorded 253,700 work-related injuries and illnesses in 2011, OSHA statistics state. Hospital injuries and illnesses are still double the rate of private industries. They are also higher than construction and manufacturing.
The most common hospital worker injuries include (listed most common to least):
- Sprains and strains
- Multiple trauma
- Cuts and punctures
Worker injuries cost an estimated $2 billion per year in worker’s compensation claims.
Injuries outnumber illnesses in this field with 93 percent of the total attributed to them. Hospital fatalities are more rare in comparison to the national scale, though about 24 fatalities do occur each year.
According to OSHA, a “culture of safety” in hospitals has six key elements:
- Education and training.
- Employee participation.
- Hazard identification and assessment.
- Hazard prevention and control.
- Management leadership.
- Program evaluation and improvement.
Although hospitals are not required to keep a record of “near misses” or almost accidents, implementing such an initiative could be one way to track what exactly is causing harm to employees.