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Nurses Blast Obama Administration for Removing OSHA Safety Rule

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.

"Current, accurate reporting will allow us to pinpoint causes of chronic disabling injury, such as on which shift nurses tend to be injured and which duties account for the highest number of injuries," Higgins emphasizes. "The rule is important to allow workers and hospitals to identify unsafe practices earlier and put in place corrective equipment and procedures, and then analyze whether such corrective interventions had a positive impact on worker safety."

In addition to calling on the Obama administration to restore the rule, NNU is sponsoring legislation in Congress to require all hospitals to provide sufficient life equipment it says will reduce workplace accidents that not only injure nurses but aslo endanger patients.

National News Archives
  Last Post: September 1, 2011 | View Comments(4)

This is no suprise. Obama was quoted while campagning that nurses make too much money for their education. He supported measures to cap wasge based on years of experience using unions.I encourage all nurses and nursing organizations to stand up and vote against Obama. He does not support nurses.

chris  ross,  RN,ADN,CCRN,  AMNSeptember 01, 2011
Vero Beach, FL

If we didn't track occupational injuries we wouldn't have improve technology to lift patients- no lift methods.

nursing February 01, 2011

This is reminiscent of bush and the decision made that Carpal Tunnel Syndrome rescinded from Occupationally recognized hazards and many states denied coverage under Workman's Comp. I was a Medic in the Army, I worked for 11 years in a civilian hospital and saw many nurses, aides, technicians get injured and little was done for them at most levels. Invariably, the injury weakened the area, and there were complications from then on. For the president to even consider this is reprehensible. bush was bad enough, but this would put President Obama into the same heartless class as that oaf bush. I'm writing the WH right after I finish this comment. Let's fight this tooth and nail.

Robert FunkeJanuary 28, 2011
O'Ineill , NE

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