On National Caregivers Day Feb. 18, the Department of Labor has issued a reminder of protecting those who protect U.S. healthcare workers.
Those workers have experienced a staggering 249 percent increase in injury and illness rates in 2020, based on employer-reported data, as they encountered serious safety and health hazards while serving those in need and labored countless hours battling the pandemic. In fact, healthcare and social assistance workers combined for more injuries and illnesses than any other industry in the nation.
As the nation observes National Caregivers Day on Feb. 18, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration urges healthcare employers, and those in related industries, to take immediate actions to help make 2022 safer for these workers.
“We recognize our caregivers for the extraordinary sacrifices they continue to make working on the frontline throughout the pandemic to keep us healthy and safe – and we owe it to them to ensure their employers are doing all they can to protect them,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Douglas Parker. “The dangers healthcare workers face continue to be of the highest concern and measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are still needed to protect them.”
OSHA is working expeditiously to issue a final standard to protect healthcare workers from COVID-19. As the agency works towards a permanent regulatory solution, employers must continue to comply with their obligations under the General Duty Clause, the Personal Protective Equipment and Respiratory Protection Standards, as well as other applicable OSHA standards to protect their employees against the hazard of COVID-19 in the workplace.
To combat workplace injury and illness most effectively, employers should create and use a proactive safety and health program that addresses hazards, training and preventive measures to keep workers safe.