NEW GUIDE LINES BRING NEW RESPONSIBILITIES
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 requires employers to provide their employees with working conditions that are free from known dangers. There are thousands of pages interpreting the meaning of that simple statement, including primarily what is a “known danger.”
For medical facilities, OSHA has attempted to provide guidelines for protecting healthcare workers from violence in the work place. In OSHA: Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare Workers (2015) OSHA explores its expectations for organizations in complying with the obligation to provide a safe workplace and to prevent violence. Many of the obligations are structural, that is, they provide for a system to protect against violence: polices, training, work place evaluation, and documentation of an organizations efforts to complete these tasks. Like HIPAA and Compliance, the solution to medical office problems are a new policy, a committee and training.
Along with this new resource comes a new obligation. In an OSHA Instruction, OSHA reviews the inherent dangers in the healthcare setting and the higher rates of violence and injury in the healthcare setting. It instructs it’s investigators to pay more attention to the healthcare setting utilizing its 2015 guidelines.
If you are a healthcare company, it makes sense to pay attention to these OSHA materials. Even if you are not investigated by OSHA itself, it does set up a standard for behavior and a potential negligence suit should your facility suffer violence.