Occupational safety agency joins effort to reduce nursing home worker injuries

Nursing home workers are accidentally injured on the job at a higher rate than workers in other sectors, including construction, manufacturing and mining, according to new Labor Department statistics.

The Labor Department measured worker injury rates by the number of injuries per every 100 full-time employees (FTEs) in 2010. The average number of skilled nursing facility workers injured on the job was 8.6 per 100 FTEs, compared to 5.6 workers in coal mines, 4.8 workers in tire manufacturing and 3.5 for building construction, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In nursing homes, injuries are often related to lifting patients, experiencing violent behavior from dementia residents, having contact with bodily fluids or interactions with infectious agents.

In a statement released with the report, Labor Department Secretary Hilda Solis said the department is concerned about healthcare workers, and encouraged employers to carefully document each incident.

“Employers must know what injuries and illnesses are occurring in their workplaces in order to identify and correct systemic issues that put their workers at risk. We are concerned with poor record-keeping practices and programs that discourage workers from reporting injuries and illnesses,” Solis said.