Resources Available to Support Safe Patient Handling in Nursing Homes

Lost workdays in nursing homes and personal care facilities are on the rise. This sector has one of the highest rates of injury and illness among industries for which lost workday injury and illness (LWDII) rates are calculated.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing and personal care facilities’ average LWDII rate is 4.9 compared with 1.8 for private industry, despite the availability of sufficient controls to address hazards.

The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) notes that healthcare workers face a number of serious safety and health hazards, including: bloodborne pathogens and biological hazards, potential chemical and drug exposures, waste anesthetic gas exposures, respiratory hazards, ergonomic hazards from lifting and repetitive tasks, laser hazards, workplace violence, hazards associated with laboratories, and radioactive material and x-ray hazards. 

Consequently, OSHA has developed a multitude of tools for nursing homes, including a brochure titled Safe Patient Handling: Preventing Musculoskeletal Disorders in Nursing Homes.  This brochure addresses the benefits of, as well as the elements of, a successful safe patient handling program.  Additionally, OSHA has created a Nursing Home e-tool that discusses the various hazards within the workplace.

For more information, visit:

Additional Links:

State Legislation:  Maryland Legislation

Safe Patient Handling — Preventing Musculoskeletal Disorders in Nursing Homes (PDF). OSHA Publication 3108, (2014, February)

National Emphasis Program – Nursing and Residential Care Facilities (NAICS 623110, 623210 and 623311). OSHA Instruction CPL 03-00-016, (2012, April 5). Includes information for OSHA’s targeted programmed inspections in this industry. The hazards being addressed include ergonomics related to patient lifting, bloodborne pathogens, tuberculosis, workplace violence, and slips, trips and falls.

Enforcement Procedures for Investigating or Inspecting Workplace Violence Incidents

Ergonomics: Guidelines for Nursing Homes. OSHA, (2013, March 13)

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