COVID unit nurses also have shouldered extra responsibilities during the pandemic. Duties such as feeding patients, drawing blood and cleaning rooms would typically be conducted by other hospital staffers, but nurses have pitched in on those jobs to minimize the number of workers visiting the negative-pressure rooms where COVID patients are treated.
The bill, now with the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, would require OSHA to develop an enforceable healthcare-specific standard around workplace violence prevention. Hospitals, home health agencies, long-term care facilities, and others would be required to develop and implement a comprehensive workplace violence protection plan in compliance with the standard’s requirements.
According to The Joint Commission, 73% of nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses causing days of missed work in health care are connected to workplace violence. Because incidents of workplace violence may be underreported, the actual figure is probably much higher, the group said in an August 9 blog post.
Tens of thousands of NNU RNs are in the process of bargaining contracts that govern safe patient care conditions and their own workplace safety. The RNs say it is crucial to win these protections in writing to hold employers to prioritize occupational and public health and safety, NNU said in a press release.
The rules, set to be released Thursday, were expected to apply broadly to all workplaces and require workers to wear masks; however, the Biden administration decided to apply them only to healthcare workers, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said, in announcing the decision today at a hearing of the House Committee on Education and Labor.
Healthcare settings pose several safety concerns for caregivers and other staff members. The dangers include emotional and psychological harm, hazards such as contaminated sharp objects, and workplace violence. The CEO Coalition’s Declaration of Principles focuses on three areas of healthcare worker safety. The CEO Coalition features the top executives at 10 healthcare organizations, including Cleveland Clinic, Henry Ford Health System, SSM Health, and UCLA Hospital System.
On episode 22 of PSQH: The Podcast, Dr. Rhonda Collins, chief nursing officer of Vocera, talks about clinician safety and cognitive overload during the COVID-19 pandemic. This episode is in partnership with Vocera.
Recently, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) updated its Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE) site with a four-page set of lessons learned in Minneapolis during the civil unrest after George Floyd died during a police arrest, an event caught on video and widely shared on social media.
The ASTM standard, which would create minimum design, performance, and labeling and care requirements for face coverings, is being developed by the subcommittee on respiratory protection at ASTM. ASTM is targeting a February 2021 approval for the standard, Daniel Smith, vice president of technical committee operations said in an e-mail.
NIOSH confirmed that approved FFRs like N95 respirators protect the wearer, filtering particle penetration to less than 5%. The report, “Filtering Facepiece Respirators with an Exhalation Valve: Measurements of Filtration Efficiency to Evaluate Their Potential for Source Control” (NIOSH Publication No. 2021-107), also confirmed that an FFR with an exhalation valve provided the same source control as commonly used measures like surgical masks, procedure masks, and cloth face coverings.