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Some hospitals disregard workers' rights to safe workplaces

Employees of hospitals in Colorado are exposed to multiple health hazards. Chemical substances that are handled by health workers can be life threatening. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently issued citations after an investigation was launched to determine compliance with safety regulations at a hospital in another state. Workers' rights include protection from safety hazards, and hospitals are being closely monitored to limit instances of health workers being injured at work due to safety violations.

OSHA investigators found that workers were exposed to methylene chloride without the knowledge that it is a cancer-causing substance. Employers must provide safety training that will equip workers with the knowledge needed to identify hazardous chemicals and also ensure they know what to do in cases of contamination. Inspectors determined that exposed workers were not monitored.

Other identified violations included the failure to discard contaminated sharps in designated containers. A lack of properly labeled containers for discarding sharps led to another citation. The hospital also failed to establish a program and engineering controls that would prevent needle sticks and contamination by blood-borne pathogens.

When workers' rights are overlooked by employers of health care workers in Colorado, long-term health consequences can lead to substantial medical expenses. Occupational diseases can also lead to long absences from work and, in some cases, the inability to continue working at all. Although benefits claims may be filed with the workers' compensation insurance system, it may be difficult to prove that an illness is work-related. In such a case, the support of an experienced workers' compensation attorney may assist a victim in obtaining appropriate compensation.

Source: news.worksafedocs.com, "Hospital cited for safety and health violations", April 18, 2016

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