Little progress in improving nursing home worker safety, BLS report suggests

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Nursing homes remain some of the most dangerous places to work in the United States, and there was little improvement in safety between 2012 and 2013, according to data released Thursday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Private sector nursing and residential care facilities had a 7.3% incidence rate for nonfatal workplace illness and injury in 2013, according to the annual BLS report. This was the highest rate among industries with 100,000 or more cases.

Musculoskeletal injuries caused by lifting and transferring residents are a major hazard in long-term care. Despite initiatives to reduce these incidents, the rate of nonfatal occupational injuries was basically unchanged for nursing facilities between 2012 and 2013.

For private industry nursing homes, the 2013 rate was 7.0%. For state and local government facilities, the rate was 13.2%. This was the only double-digit incidence rate across all public and private sector industries.

Other sectors have had more success. Manufacturing, retail trade and utilities all had significant declines in reported illnesses and injuries last year, according to the BLS. For the U.S. workforce as a whole, the illness and injury incidence rate ticked down from 3.4 cases per 100 full-time workers to 3.3 cases.

Click here to access the complete report.