ANA Executive Director Debbie Dawson Hatmaker, PhD, RN, FAAN
On OSHA Action Recognizing Nurses’ Risk of Injury
The American Nurses Association (ANA) commends the Obama Administration and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for expanding the focus of OSHA inspections to include musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) related to manual patient handling. Labor statistics have consistently shown that nurses, nursing assistants and other health care workers are at high risk of MSDs from manually lifting, transferring and repositioning patients. Manual patient handling is unsafe for patients and often results in painful, career-ending health care worker injuries.
ANA is hopeful that OSHA’s enforcement memo will encourage hospitals to proactively address safe patient handling and mobility and create comprehensive programs to protect patients, nurses and other health care workers. While OSHA’s action is a step in the right direction, ANA believes a federal ergonomic standard is necessary to protect health care workers and is working with Congress to introduce legislation that would establish such a standard.
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ANA is the only full-service professional organization representing the interests of the nation's 3.1 million registered nurses through its constituent and state nurses associations and its organizational affiliates. ANA advances the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the rights of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Congress and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public.