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Colorado health care employees and new OSHA safety plans

OSHA has extended its National Emphasis Program on Nursing and Residential Care Facilities to address the epidemic of injured nurses in Colorado hospitals as well as the rest of the health care industry. OSHA announced that its 10 regional divisions would be conducting audits and fining hospitals and other care facilities for workplace safety violations. The health care industry has more reported workplace injuries than any other industry, according to the OSHA enforcement director.

OSHA announced a commitment to address workplace hazards such as musculoskeletal disorders caused by lifting patients, workplace violence, falls and other risks. The national OSHA office pledged additional enforcement and resources to help inpatient care facilities with high rates of occupational illness and injuries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the health care industry has the highest rate of workplace injury despite controls already in place to address hazards.

In a recent news report, one nurse reported sustaining a damaged disc after attempting a team lift of an obese patient who had fallen. According to the report, this scenario is a common one among health care workers. Research shows that hospitals can reduce the risk of such injuries by offering proper lifting equipment to remove the physical strain on employees.

Nurses and other health care workers who sustain injuries while engaging in patient care may be eligible for workers' compensation. A workers' compensation settlement may provide coverage for medical bills, lost wages, long-term care costs and pain and suffering. A lawyer may help employees file a personal injury lawsuit instead if an unfair workers' compensation that does not cover all damages is offered by the employer. Workplace injuries can have lasting consequences, so it could be important to receive compensation for current damages as well as long-term financial losses.

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