OSHA contacts about 1,000 nursing homes as possible inspection targets

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Aides frequently injure themselves on the job, putting them at risk of leaving the LTC field.
Aides frequently injure themselves on the job, putting them at risk of leaving the LTC field.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently sent letters to about 1,000 nursing homes with high worker injury and illness rates in 2011, warning that they may be subject to inspections.

Among all employers classified under OSHA's “business” category, nursing homes, convalescent homes and other residential care facilities received the greatest number of these warning letters, according to Freedom of Information Act information obtained by the Bureau of National Affairs. Out of 9,414 letters sent, nursing homes and similar healthcare providers received 1,005, according to BNA. Manufacturers received the most, at 4,899.

OSHA sent the letters to workplaces where illness and injury rates for employees exceeded the industry average, based on Days Away from Work, Restricted, or Transferred (DART) data. The average DART rate for nursing care facilities in 2011 was 5.3, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This represents the number of incidences or injuries per 100 full-time workers.

Healthcare and retail trade were the only two private industry sectors to see illness and injury rates decline between 2010 and 2011, according to the BLS.