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OSHA targets slip-and-fall accidents in nursing homes nationwide

Nursing homes in New Jersey and elsewhere across the country are comparatively dangerous places to work.

Slip-and-fall injuries are a major cause of accidental death in the United States.

When those two facts are considered together, it is quite easy to see why federal safety regulators are focusing especially hard on fall accidents occurring in nursing home establishments and on ways to reduce them.

The concern is based on hard and well-established evidence. Investigators from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) say that nursing home workers have an absence rate from work at a level that is stunningly higher than in other industries. In fact, accidental injuries at the workplace cause employees in such establishments to miss work at a rate that is more than two times higher than the combined total for all other privately owned businesses combined.

That sobering fact, coupled with government data showing that slip-and-fall accidents account for 15 percent of accidental deaths in North America -- lagging only car accidents as the major precipitating factor in such fatalities -- has led OSHA to launch a "national emphasis program" (NEP) aimed at curbing injuries in care facilities.

The NEP is a three-year focus that will closely scrutinize nursing homes for safety violations of all types, with inspectors looking especially hard at slips, trips and falls.

Those types of injuries are largely preventable, say agency spokespersons, who point to commercial floor-mat and carpet systems as being the first line of defense against fall injuries in nursing homes.

If you or a member of your family has been injured in a slip-and-fall accident at a medical facility, retail establishment, playground, apartment complex or other public or private locale, please contact Breslin & Breslin for a free consultation.

Source: EHS Today, "OSHA warns nursing care facilities to watch their steps," Sandy Smith, Sept. 4, 2012

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