With slip and fall accidents higher than they should be in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, the Occupational Safety Health Administration, OSHA, has begun a national incentive to inspect and curb safety violations.
In February, OSHA notified about 2,500 nursing homes and personal care facilities that injury and illness rates were higher than average and began suggesting ways to provide safer environments. So far, about 9,000 of the approximate 33,000 nursing home in the U.S. have been asked to report their injury data to OSHA.
The National Emphasis Program, known as NEP, will focus on these facilities with safety inspections over the next three years. Accidents that involve a slip, trip or fall account for about 15 percent of all accidental deaths in North America, ranking second to car accidents.
Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for OSHA, stated that since nursing home workers are dedicated to caring for the elderly, the increased numbers of slip and fall accidents are not acceptable.
Some safety industry companies have suggested a type of floor mat system for walking surfaces that are dirty and wet. The commercial floor mats could help prevent accidents, but could raise other questions such as ease of movement for elderly residents.
Nursing home residents face the same hazards as other industries if the facility is out of compliance with OSHA policy and procedure. Targeting the facilities with higher rates of slip and falls with additional inspections could help keep some accidents from occurring.
Source: EHS Today, “OSHA Warns Nursing Care Facilities to Watch Their Steps,” Sandy Smith, September 4, 2012
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