Healthcare and Emergency Response Under OSHA’s Spotlight

Source: OSHA

According to Business Insurance, OSHA will be reviewing potential standards to prevent workplace violence in the healthcare sector and improve emergency response and preparedness.

In July 2016, OSHA started laying the groundwork for a potential regulatory standard aimed at reducing fatalities and injuries in the tree care industry, which experiences an average of 70 deaths each year.

In December 2016, the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health recommended that OSHA expeditiously pursue a formal rule-making for an emergency responder preparedness program standard — an effort that gained new momentum after the April 2013 death of 12 emergency responders in an ammonium nitrate explosion in West, Texas.

In January 2017, OSHA granted petitions by a coalition of labor unions to pursue a standard to prevent workplace violence in the healthcare sector, as employees in this industry are at disproportionately higher risk of violence than other industries.

A required review of the potential impact on small businesses is scheduled to begin this year for the emergency response proposal, and in 2019 for the tree care and workplace violence proposals.

Also on the pre-rule list are potential regulations related to communication tower safety and potential revisions to the Table 1 compliance methods in OSHA’s silica standard for the construction industry.

In addition to the infectious disease potential rule, however, a standard to update regulations for process safety management and prevention of major chemical accidents remains on the long-term actions list despite several significant chemical incidents in the past year.