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Recent Citations Highlight OSHA’s Focus On Long Term Care

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently cited an Ohio residential care community for not taking adequate steps towards protecting employees from workplace violence. The case highlights the administration’s national emphasis program, which has focused inspection efforts on residential care communities, including some assisted living communities.

An enhanced investigation of the Ohio residential care community was generated as a part of National Emphasis Program for Nursing and Residential Care Facilities, which was announced earlier this year with the goal of protecting employees in long term care settings from health hazards. The program puts special emphasis on preventing bloodborne pathogens, tuberculosis, workplace violence, injuries resulting from resident lifting and transferring, as well as slips, trips, and falls. The emphasis program calls for inspections to focus on communities with a days away, restricted, transfer (DART) rate of 10 or higher per 100 full-time workers. The Ohio community had a DART rate of 20, with many of those injuries due to physical assaults by residents with a history of violent behavior. OSHA proposed a penalty of $8,700 for the community.

OSHA encourages employers to develop a comprehensive program for preventing workplace violence and other workplace hazards. To help with this effort, OSHA has provided a number of resources including Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Health Care & Social Service Workers and an online resource highlighting potential hazards and methods of addressing hazards. The complete directive for the National Emphasis Program for Nursing and Residential Care Facilities and a press release about the Ohio citation are also available online.

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