In 2006, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration set up a new program called National Emphasis Program (NEP). The program was originally set up as a way for OSHA to put inspecting emphasis on high injury industries. Throughout the six-year program, OSHA has developed 12 National Emphasis Programs.
The Health Care industry is the newest addition to the NEP program. On the 5th of April 2012, OSHA started their new NEP and projects to conduct more inspections within Nursing and Residential Care Facilities. According to OSHA, Nursing and Residential Care Facilities continue to have one of the highest rates of injury and illness among industries for which nationwide days away, restricted work activity and job transfer (DART) injury and illness rates were calculated. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the national average DART rate for private industry for CY 2010 was 1.8. Nursing and residential care facilities experienced average DART rates of 5.6, despite the availability of feasible controls, which have been identified to address hazards within this industry. The Health Care sector had been overlooked by OSHA over the years. No more! OSHA will now set up “increased programmed inspections that set forth policy and procedures for targeting and conducting programmed inspections in this industry. The specific hazards being addressed include ergonomic stressors in patient lifting, bloodborne pathogens, tuberculosis, workplace violence, and slips, trips and falls”.
There is a clear purpose for the new NEP. That purpose is targeting and enforcing efforts to reduce occupational illness and injuries in Nursing and Residential Care Facilities in the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS). Because the seriousness and prevalence of the hazards in these facilities are nationwide, States are required to participate in this national emphasis effort. The NEP contemplates at least three (3) inspections per year, per State or field office.
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