OSHA, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor mandated with the responsibility of promoting healthy and safe conditions for all employees. Its mission is to ensure that the workplace is free of hazards that could potentially lead to injuries, illnesses and deaths; thereby, promotes workers’ safety and safeguards their health. OSHA had reduced occupational deaths by 62% and injuries by 42%, by 2009, since its inception in 1971 (McCauley-Bush, 2012). OSHA achieves its mission through formulation and emphasis on standards, providing training, education, and outreach services to both employers and employees.
Nursing homes are of special interests because they predispose individuals to more injuries in comparison to other workplaces; hence, the nursing home tool is meant to mitigate hazards associated with these workplaces. Dietary and ergonomics are among the various topics addressed by this tool. The dietary domain encompasses all the different aspects that ensure safe working conditions in a kitchen, which is a vital facility in a nursing home. First, employees should have easy access to working areas based on the nature of activities as shown in fig. 1 below.
Fig. 1: Accessibility of work activities. Adapted from OSHA (2015).
Also, employees should have access to personal protective equipment and trained to use equipment properly and recognize potential hazards correctly. Employers should reinforce hygienic practices to prevent foodborne and associated illnesses.
Ergonomics is meant to guide employers in providing suitable equipment for specific tasks to prevent work-related injuries. Also, there is always the right worker for a specific job; hence, employers should correctly assign tasks to the different employees; otherwise, a mismatch can result in the occurrence of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). OSHA recommends that employers should be committed towards investigation, documentation, and development of feasible solutions based on the investigative reports (OSHA, 2015). Since there is so much reliance on the caregivers in the nursing homes, lifting emanates as the most hazardous activity associated with MSD. Hence, each employer should provide suitable workplace controls that aid in reducing these injuries. However, if they occur, the employer should ensure a medical management program is available to help manage injured employees.
McCauley-Bush, P. (2012). Ergonomics: Foundational Principles, applications, andtechnologies. Boca Raton: CRC Press.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). (2015). Retrieved Nov. 25, 2015, from https://www.osha.gov/.