Aug. 4, 2015
Nursing facility to implement procedures to reduce musculoskeletal
injuries suffered by workers providing resident care
Twin Towers to hire a specialized safety consultant to help improve workplace conditions
CINCINNATI - Employees at a Cincinnati nursing care facility will benefit from improvements the company is making to its policies and procedures for transferring residents at Twin Towers, a provider of skilled nursing care services.
Nursing facilities have among the highest rates of serious work-related injuries and musculoskeletal disorders, including those of the neck, upper extremities and lower back, which account for a significant portion of these injuries.
"Musculoskeletal disorders are preventable. An effective, safe resident handling program will reduce muscle fatigue, increase productivity and reduce the number and severity of work-related injuries," said Ken Montgomery, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration area director in Cincinnati. "Twin Towers recognizes the need to make changes to its resident handling procedures to prevent injury to workers while continuing to preserve the dignity of patients with limited mobility."
Under terms of a settlement agreement with OSHA, Twin Towers will retain a specialized safety consultant with ergonomics expertise to recommend improvements to its resident handling program that will include minimal lifting by caregivers; using safe handling technologies, such as mechanical lifts; repositioning aids; and training for workers.
The company will report to OSHA on improvements to its program within six months and pay a penalty of $18,200 to resolve OSHA citations issued in June 2015. The agency issued citations after conducting an inspection based on a review of injury and illness logs for employees, which indicated a high rate of musculoskeletal injuries for caregivers. Twin Towers cooperated fully with OSHA's investigation.
Work-related musculoskeletal disorders are among the most frequently reported causes of lost or restricted work time. Bureau of Labor Statistics' data for 2013 shows overexertion accounted for almost half of all reported injuries in the health care industry. Nurses and nursing assistants each accounted for a substantial share of this total. Among all occupations, orderlies, nursing assistants and personal care aides had some of the highest musculoskeletal disorder rates in 2013.
Twin Towers is a registered nonprofit corporation. It operates under the parent corporation, Life Enriching Communities, and employs about 300 workers. Life Enriching Communities also operates Twin Lakes, a senior living community in Montgomery. The settlement agreement between OSHA and Twin Towers also calls for a review of Twin Lakes' policies and procedures for resident handling.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Cincinnati Area Office at 513-841-4132.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
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Release Number: 15-1474-CHI
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