Louisiana health care workers who are injured in a workplace accident may feel more comfortable reaching out to OSHA for assistance thanks to the organization's stricter guidelines for inpatient facilities. OSHA's Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor announced a commitment to a new health care enforcement initiative in June 2015. OSHA's detailed health care enforcement initiative was released in the Guidance Memo.
The Guidance Memo instructs compliance officers to focus on the hazards of musculoskeletal disorders, workplace violence, bloodborne pathogens, tuberculosis and falls. OSHA compliance officers will expand their investigations if any additional hazards, such as drug-resistant organisms and hazardous chemical exposures, are discovered during the course of investigation. OSHA regulations do not currently apply to all inpatient workplace hazards, but the new guidelines allow compliance officers to issue citations if an employer has not provided a safe work environment or does not have current regulations.
OSHA regulations apply to a broad range of facilities, from hospitals and nursing homes to psychiatric facilities, substance abuse clinics and assistant living facilities, among others. Any type of health or nursing facility that offers inpatient services may be cited under the new guidelines. Those facilities with the highest rates of workplace injuries and illnesses are particularly subject to investigation and citation.
If a health care worker has been injured or become ill due to exposure or hazardous conditions in the workplace, filing a claim for workers' compensation benefits may be an option. An attorney who has experience with these types of matters may be of assistance in explaining the types of benefits that may be available.