Calls for additional funding to expand efforts

In a recently published report, Public Citizen raises concerns about the level of oversight OSHA exercises over the healthcare industry. The report notes that the healthcare industry has a higher level of injuries than any other industry but receives comparatively less attention from OSHA.

The report acknowledges that a primary reason for the disparity in the attention given to healthcare workers is the severity of injuries suffered by workers in other industries. For example, in 2010, 141 workers died in the healthcare industry, compared to 744 and 329 construction and manufacturing workers respectively. Additionally, Public Citizen acknowledges that OSHA's actions in this area are negatively impacted by lack of resources and the political environment.

Nonetheless, the report calls for stepped-up oversight of the following areas affecting the safety of healthcare workers:

  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Lack of ergonomics-related standards
  • Workplace violence
  • Bloodborne pathogens

Public Citizen argues that rather than shift its resources away from the construction and manufacturing sectors in order to give the healthcare sector more attention, OSHA should receive more funding to expand it efforts in this area: particularly given the rapid expansion of employment in the healthcare industry, which has grown ten times the rate of other industries.

Read the full report.