Employment discrimination*, unfair wage, and wrongful termination – these are the common topics for employment disputes in the health care industry. There is another issue that should go within the list and that is the safety of employees. There are particular facets involving employee safety, and these include: workplace safety, employment policies, and implementation of laws.

Workplace Safety

In the United States, pursuant to the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), employers are required to ensure the safety of their employees by maintaining a healthy and safe work environment. Hundreds of workplace accidents occur each year in the country due to employers’ failure to provide a safe and hazard-free work environment to workers. To fully assure the health of workers, employers must abide by the provisions set by OSH Act.

Employees who believe that their workplace is not in accordance with OSH Act may file a formal complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Consequently, employers cannot retaliate against employees who file a complaint with OSHA.

Employment Policies

Employers are advised to create and implement pro-safety company policies so as to assure a hazard-free work environment. Company or business policies should highlight the following:

•    Instructions for the use of high-risk work equipment and tools
•    Injury and illness prevention programs
•    The legal rights of workers under employment laws
•    Inspection of workplace and work equipment
•    Usage of proper work attire and gear
•    Trainings concerning workplace accident prevention

In order to fully achieve a zero accident workplace, employers must make sure that their policies and guidelines are prioritized and implemented sufficiently. Subsequently, employees must abide by the policies so as to avoid any work-related mishaps.

Implementation of Laws

Work environment safety laws are just articles if they are not implemented and followed. In order to wholly achieve safety in the workplace, labor agencies and departments must sufficiently execute laws. In return, employers must adhere to the laws.

Aside from OSH Act, another workplace safety-related law that is in effect in California is the Assembly Bill 1136 or the Health Care Worker Injury Protection Act. This law caters to employees and employers in the health care industry. Prior to the enactment of the AB 1136, back and musculoskeletal injuries are common to workers in the field.

In accordance with AB 1136, general care hospitals and medical centers are required to maintain and secure a safe patient handling policy in order to avoid workers suffering from work-related injuries. Furthermore, the new bill prohibits hospitals to reprimand health care employees refuse to lift, reposition, or transfer a patient because of safety reasons.