This is just plain unacceptable. Nurses are often left with really bad back injuries and end up having to stay on serious pain medication for much of their lives — mostly because hospitals won’t pay for enough equipment and staff to prevent it. Now the Obama administration’s going to keep them from filing OSHA reports that will document later claims? Bah.
National Nurses United (NNU) is sharply criticizing the Obama administration for a decision by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Tuesday to withdraw a rule requiring employers to report musculoskeletal injuries to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
“This is a disturbing sign that the Obama administration may be putting the economic interests of employers ahead of the safety of nurses and other working people,” says Karen Higgins, RN, co-president of the 160,000-member nurses union.
The decades-old rule was pulled by the DOL at the request of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, according to NNU.
“Nursing is one of the most dangerous occupations in the U.S., and nurses are especially subject to serious back and other musculoskeletal injuries,” says Higgins. “One step we can take to keep nurses safe and at work is to have an accurate picture of when and how they are hurt on the job.”
Serious back injuries typically are caused by nurses lifting and turning patients, and can lead to permanent disability.