The healthcare industry works directly and indirectly to provide health services to individuals. Healthcare facilities include hospitals, clinics, dental offices, outpatient surgery centers, birthing centers, emergency medical care, home healthcare, and nursing homes. Healthcare facilities are regulated under the General Duty Clause of the OSH Act, and employers must provide workers with a safe workplace free of any known hazards that can cause serious injury or death. In this blog post, we discuss OSHA regulations that apply to some or all healthcare facilities. To learn more, visit OSHA’s webpage dedicated to healthcare facilities by clicking here.
Common Hazards in Healthcare Facilities
The healthcare and social assistance industry has one of the highest rates of work-related injuries and illnesses. In 2017, the healthcare and social assistance industry reported more injury and illness cases than any other private industry sector – 582,800 cases (2017 Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, BLS). That is almost 154,000 more injuries and illnesses than the next sector, manufacturing.
Common hazards in healthcare facilities include:
- bloodborne pathogens and biological hazards,
- potential chemical and drug exposures,
- waste anesthetic gas exposures,
- respiratory hazards,
- ergonomic hazards from lifting and repetitive tasks,
- laser hazards,
- workplace violence,
- hazards associated with laboratories, and
- radioactive material and x-ray hazard.
Large healthcare facilities employ various trades, other than medical staff, that have health and safety hazards associated with them. This can include mechanical maintenance, medical equipment maintenance, housekeeping, food services, building and grounds maintenance, laundry, and administrative staff. All employees must be trained on the hazards presented by their job tasks and provided the necessary personal protective equipment.
OSHA Standards Applicable to Healthcare Facilities
Frequently cited standards in healthcare facilities include respiratory protection, hazard communication, bloodborne pathogens, and recordkeeping. OSHA has listed the most frequently cited standards by NAICS code here. Other highlighted OSHA standards applicable to the healthcare industry are shown in the table below.
|OSHA General Industry Subpart||OSHA General Industry Standard||Related Information|
|1910 Subpart I – Personal Protective Equipment||1910.132, General requirements.||Related Information|
|1910 Subpart I – Personal Protective Equipment||1910.133, Eye and face protection.||Related Information|
|1910 Subpart I – Personal Protective Equipment||1910.134, Respiratory Protection.||Related Information|
|1910 Subpart Z – Toxic and Hazardous Substances||1910.1030, Bloodborne pathogens.||Related Information|
|1910 Subpart Z – Toxic and Hazardous Substances||1910.1047, Ethylene oxide.||Related Information|
|1910 Subpart Z – Toxic and Hazardous Substances||1910.1048, Formaldehyde.||Related Information|
|1910 Subpart Z – Toxic and Hazardous Substances||1910.1096, Ionizing radiation.||Related Information|
|1910 Subpart Z – Toxic and Hazardous Substances||1910.1200, Hazard Communication.||Related Information|
|1910 Subpart Z – Toxic and Hazardous Substances||1910.1450, Occupational exposure to hazardous chemicals in laboratories.||Related Information|
28 states have OSHA-approved State Plans dictating workplace safety and health programs. State Plans are monitored by OSHA and must be at least as effective as OSHA requirements in protecting workers and preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. Check to see if your state has a State Plan by visiting OSHA’s webpage.
Our team of experts will review your current compliance programs, assess their effectiveness, and make recommendations to help your facility meet OSHA requirements. Don’t wait for OSHA to show up. Contact us today to help you get your facility in compliance!