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  New NEP Focuses on Nursing Homes
 
A new national emphasis program focuses on protecting workers in nursing and personal care facilities with high injury and illness rates. A new OSHA national emphasis program (NEP) is focusing outreach efforts and inspections on specific hazards in nursing and personal care facilities with high injury and illness rates. The outreach and inspections will focus on hazards most prevalent in the facilities, including ergonomics primarily related to patient handling; exposure to blood, other potentially infectious materials, and tuberculosis; and slips, trips, and falls. OSHA also will address workplace violence in the industry.

Under the NEP, OSHA plans to inspect about 1,000 nursing and personal care facilities with 14 or more injuries or illnesses resulting in lost workdays or restricted activity for every 100 full-time workers. Last February, OSHA notified approximately 13,000 employers, including 2,500 nursing and personal care facilities, that their injury and illness rates were higher than average and suggested sources of help to lower them.

"Nursing and personal care facilities are a growing industry where hazards are known and effective controls are available," said OSHA Administrator John L. Henshaw. "The industry also ranks among the highest in terms of injuries and illnesses, with rates about two-and-a-half times that of other general industries. By focusing on specific hazards associated with nursing and personal care facilities, we can help bring those rates down."

OSHA Provides Outreach on Nursing Home NEP
OSHAs Bridgeport and Hartford Area Offices recently joined forces with Connecticut OSHA (CONN-OSHA), the state consultation office, to sponsor a public outreach session on the nursing home NEP. About 30 people from as far away as Pennsylvania attended the session, held at the public library in Bridgeport, Conn.

Compliance assistance specialists Leona May from the Bridgeport Area Office and Anthony Fuschillio from the Hartford Area Office and John Able, a trainer with CONN-OSHA, covered a wide range of topics: ergonomics, with emphasis on resident handling; bloodborne pathogens, including engineering controls such as safe needle devices; tuberculosis; slips, trips, and falls; and violence in the workplace. The presenters also discussed services provided by the state consultation programs.

Other OSHA area offices have sponsored similar training in Nashua and Concord, N.H.; Newton, Mass.; and other cities. JSHQ

Leona May from OSHA's Bridgeport Area Office discusses hazards faced by nursing home workers.