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OSHA intends to improve worker safety in the health care industry

Texas nurses may be aware of the heightened chances of injury that come with their profession. Nurses and health care workers are known to be among the most commonly injured employees nationwide. Although the incidence rate of injury among the average profession, including jobs known to be hazardous, such as oil field work, is only 3.4, hospitals report an average rate of 6.6 and nursing homes are even higher.

Now, OSHA has announced their intention to step up their efforts nationwide to improve workplace safety for all health care employees. They have launched a program called National Emphasis Program on Nursing and Residential Care Facilities, and they plan to use both collaborative methods and enforcement to help to bring the injury rates down.

Their stated plan involves expanding their audits of hospitals and health care facilities in Texas and across America. They plan to focus on workplace exposure to hazards such as physical injury from lifting and moving heavy people, pathogens and diseases such as tuberculosis, violence in the place of work, and the unacceptably high rate of slipping and falling for employees.

A health care employee does not have to prove that their employer was negligent to file a worker's compensation claim. They only have to demonstrate that the injury occurred at work or because of work. However, if they are reasonably certain that they can prove malfeasance on the part of their employer, then they may choose to forgo the offered compensation and file a civil suit. It may be helpful to consult with an attorney to compare the likely financial award that may be gathered from either course and decide which path to pursue. A successful civil suit has the potential to be more remunerative in the case of clear employer negligence or action in bad faith.

Source: Healthcare Finance News, "OSHA plans healthcare safety crackdown for injured nurses", Anthony Brino, June 11, 2015

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