Region 4 News Release: USDOL: 01-76
Wednesday, May 09, 2001
Contact: Teresa Harrison
Phone: (912) 652-4393 Ext. 0
OSHA PARTNERS WITH CHATHAM COUNTY NURSING HOMES TO PROTECT LOCAL HEALTH WORKERS
ATLANTA -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced that it will partner with nine Chatham County nursing homes to improve efficiency and effectiveness in protecting workers in the area's managed care industry.
According to Charlie J. Anderson, OSHA's assistant regional administrator for cooperative programs, Atlanta, "This partnership is a response to the high rate of injuries and illnesses in health care occupations." In each year from 1993 through 1999, the most recent period for which data is available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing aides and orderlies ranked third, and registered nurses tenth, in the number of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses resulting in days away from work.
At 1:30 p.m. on May 10, just days before the start of National Nursing Home Appreciation Week, Anderson and Teresa Harrison, OSHA's Savannah area director, will join administrators of the nine nursing homes for a formal signing ceremony.
Harrison said, "The goal of this cooperative effort is a 10 percent reduction in injuries and illnesses by January 2003. Nursing homes achieving that goal will receive a certificate from OSHA recognizing their safety and health accomplishments."
As part of reaching the goal, nursing home administrators agree to maintain an effective, comprehensive safety and health program and train employees in hazard recognition specific to their industry. In addition, they will conduct monthly safety and health inspections and promote employee involvement in day-to-day operations, a key element in safety program implementation.
"If this partnership is successful," said Harrison, "we may expand it to include more counties in South Georgia. Through partnership, OSHA and nursing homes can work together to effectively enhance safety in the industry."
The nine participating nursing homes are Azalealand Nursing Home, Inc., Chatham Nursing Home, Heritage Park of Savannah, Moss Oaks Health Care Center, Oceanside Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Savannah Beach Nursing Home, Savannah Square Retirement Community, Inc., Tara At Thunderbolt Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, and Westview Nursing Center.
Two remaining nursing care facilities in Chatham County, which declined to join the partnership, have agreed to participate in a day-long training session. OSHA and the agency-funded consultation group from Georgia Technical Institute will address safety and health programs, bloodborne pathogens, machine guarding, electrical hazards and lifting hazards during a June 12 session at the Chatham Nursing Home.