Our colleague at the Workplace Privacy Blog has reported that health care providers may disclose private health information to avert threats to health and safety. For details, click here.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) recently reiterated its intention to begin aggressively inspecting nursing homes and other residential care facilities in the next few months. Its “Nursing Home National Emphasis Program” was instituted in response to reports of increased and above-average rates of injuries and illnesses among hospital and health care workers. According to statistics from the DOL’s 2010 report on Nonfatal Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Requiring Days Away From Work, nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants were high on the list of employees with medical issues that kept them from work. Such employees are out at approximately four times the national average. Health care employers should consider self-auditing their facilities on a regular basis and consulting with counsel to ensure they are in compliance with OSHA regulations and other employment laws.
Employers in the healthcare industry may be interested in a recent article from Jackson Lewis' Workplace Resource Center, which summarizes recent New York State Legislative Updates, including an amendment to the New York State Penal Law that makes an assault on registered or licensed practical nurses a class C or D felony. In light of this legislative amendment and recent newsworthy workplace violence events, preventive safety policies are ripe for review.