Category Archives: Health & Safety

Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus: New Treatment Guidelines for an Old Bug

Source: Jamie M. Rosini, Connie Yu, Journal of Emergency Nursing, Volume 37, Issue 6, published online 05 October 2011
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a common cause of a variety of infections ranging from skin and soft-tissue infections (SSTIs) to more serious infections such as meningitis, endocarditis, and pneumonia. Previously recognized solely as a nosocomial microorganism, MRSA has emerged in community settings (eg, athletic centers, prisons, and military sites) and health care-associated environments (eg,long-term care facilities and dialysis centers). In February 2011 the Infectious Diseases Society of America published its first evidence-based guidelines for the management of MRSA infections. Several antibiotics are available to treat this resistant pathogen.

Deconstructing Crain and Crain: Estimated cost of OSHA regulations is way off base

Source: Isaac Shapiro and Ross Eisenbrey, Economic Policy Institute, Issue Brief #312, August 18, 2011

From the press release:
The estimate by Nicole V. Crain and W. Mark Crain that Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) regulations cost businesses $65 billion a year is vastly overstated, a new Economic Policy Institute (EPI) Issue Brief finds. Crain and Crain conducted a study of the cost of government regulations for the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy in 2010 that included this estimate.

Crain and Crain attribute more than 99 percent of the $65-billion estimate to regulations adopted in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Deconstructing Crain and Crain: Estimated cost of OSHA regulations is way off base, by EPI Vice President Ross Eisenbrey and Director of Regulatory Policy Research Isaac Shapiro, explains that the Crains’ estimate is problematic for three reasons.

2010 edition of Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted

Source: FBI, 2011

From the press release:
According to information released today by the FBI, 56 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty last year; 72 officers died in accidents while performing their duties; and 53,469 officers were assaulted in the line of duty. The 2010 edition of Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted released today provides comprehensive tabular data about these incidents and brief narratives describing the fatal attacks.

Nonfatal Occupational Injuries And Illnesses Requiring Days Away From Work, 2010

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Economic News Release, USDL-11-1612, November 9, 2011

The rate of nonfatal occupational injury and illness cases requiring days away from work to recuperate was 118 cases per 10,000 full-time workers in 2010, statistically unchanged from 2009, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The total number of private industry, state government, and local government cases decreased 4 percent to 1,191,100. The median days away from work–a key measure of severity of injuries and illnesses–was 8 days, the same as the previous year.

When Mass Transit Riders Attack

Source: Eric Jaffe, The Atlantic Cities, November 8, 2011

It’s not a great time to be a transit rider. Metro areas across the country are addressing budget shortages for public transportation by cutting service, or raising fares, or doing both. Bad as things are for passengers, it may be an even worse time to be a transit worker. In several large cities, passenger abuse of workers is on the rise.

Nursing and Residential Care Workers Suffer Highest Occupational Injury Rates

Source: Matthew Ozga, PHI, PolicyWorks Blog, 03 November 2011

Workers in nursing and residential care facilities experienced the highest injury rates of any occupational setting in 2010, according to data (pdf) recently released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)….

…Combined, the health care and social assistance industry reported a higher injury/illness rate than any other private sector….

…Nursing and residential care facility workers employed in the public sector suffered even higher injury rates than their private-industry counterparts, the BLS report additionally found.
See also:
Workplace Injuries and Illnesses – 2010
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, News Release, USDL-11-1502, October 20, 2011
Statement from Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA on increase of nonfatal occupational injuries among health care workers / OSHA to focus on improving safety and health at nursing home facilities
Source: OSHA News Release, 11-1638-NAT, November 9, 2011

OSHA Inaction: Onerous Requirements Imposed on OSHA Prevent the Agency from Issuing Lifesaving Rules

Source: Justin Feldman, Public Citizen, October 2011

According to certain pundits, a “regulatory hurricane” is brewing. Yet when it comes to health and safety protections for workers, there has been a regulatory drought. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has produced regulations during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama presidencies at a slower rate than in any other period in the agency’s history, While OSHA was once able to develop a rule in less than a year, the process now exceeds six years on average.

Five pending OSHA standards have been subject to delays ranging from 4 to 31 years. Analyzing OSHA’s risk assessment data, we found that eliminating the delays would have prevented more than 100,000 serious injuries, more than 10,000 cases of occupational illness and hundreds of worker fatalities. Additionally, there are hundreds of chemicals to which workers can be exposed at levels known to be unsafe, but which OSHA has not yet begun to address. Further, protections are lacking for such common hazards as heat stroke, repetitive motion injuries and workplace violence.


Source: Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP), 2011

ResistanceMap is a web-based collection of tools that allow accessible, engaging, and interactive exploration of more than 50 antimicrobial surveillance indicators from North America and Europe.

Researchers, policymakers, and the public can use the Map to gain insight into the trends and magnitude of an unfolding public health crisis. To reach a wider audeince, visualizations may be reembedded on any blog or website.

Sicker And Costlier: Healthcare Utilization Of U.S. Hospital Employees

Source: Thomson Reuters, Research Brief, August 2011
(registration required)

U.S. hospital workers are less healthy, consume more medical services, and accrue higher healthcare costs than the U.S. workforce at large, according to a study conducted by the Healthcare business of Thomson Reuters.

Researchers analyzed the health risk and healthcare utilization of 1.1 million hospital workers and their dependents and compared them with 17.8 million health plan members in all industries for the year ending with the third quarter of 2010. They used the Thomson Reuters MarketScan® databases, a repository of healthcare claims representing the real-world healthcare experience of millions of Americans. This study looked exclusively at workers with employer-sponsored health insurance.

The study found:
• Healthcare costs (medical care and prescription drugs) were 10 percent higher for hospital workers than the general employee population and 13 percent higher when employees’ dependents were included.

•Health risk for hospital employees and their dependents was 8.6 percent higher (based on a research methodology that assesses patient demographics, inpatient and outpatient diagnoses, and prescription drug use).

•Hospital employees and their dependents were more likely to be diagnosed and hospitalized for chronic medical conditions, including asthma, diabetes, congestive heart failure, HIV, hypertension, and mental illness.

•Hospital workers and their dependents were 22 percent more likely to visit the emergency room and spent 18 percent more time hospitalized.

•Hospital employees and their dependents had fewer physician office visits and received less ambulatory care than the employee population at large.

•A hospital or health system with 16,000 employees would save an estimated $1.5 million annually in medical and pharmacy costs for each 1 percent reduction in health risk.

Preventing Violence at Work

Source: Bonnie S. Michelman, Journal of Healthcare Protection Management, Vol. 27 no. 2, 2011
(subscription required)

Workplace violence is a basic concern of all industries, according to the author. Addressing the threat, she says, reduces costs, workplace injuries, and litigation. Above all, it saves lives. With planning, education, drills, and resource deployment, the risk of violence can be reduced. However, failure to recognize the risk factors and red flags that may point to an emerging problem, or doing a poor job of education staff about the issue can have a negative effect.
Related (from the same issue):
– Workplace violence in hospitals: Safe Havens No More
by Bryan Warren
– Workplace Violence Prevention Education After JCSEA
by Scott Buff
– Critical Issues on Gun Violence in the Hospital Workplace
by James Sawyer and Caroline Ramsey-Hamilton