Overexertion incidents are the leading source of workers’ compensation claims and costs in healthcare settings. The primary outcome associated with such incidents are musculoskeletal disorders MSDs. MSD risks are found in housekeeping, food service and other areas where workers manually handle heavy, awkward loads or perform repetitive forceful hand work. The single greatest risk factor for MSDs in healthcare workers is the manual moving and repositioning of patients, residents or clients. Rising obesity rates in the United States impact the physical demands on caregivers. The aging of the workforce likely contributes to the problem; the average age of a registered nurse in the U.S. is approximately 47 years. Also contributing to the negative health consequences of manual handling is the shortage of nurses—Peter Buerhaus, a researcher at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, has estimated that there will be a shortage of 250,000 nurses by the year 2025 in the US.
A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is used by chemical manufacturers and importers to convey both the physical hazards pH, flashpoint, flammability, etc. and the health hazards carcinogenicity, teratogenicity, etc. of their chemicals to the end user. MSDSs are a critical component of the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administrations OSHA Hazard Communication Standard. This standard mandates that workers have a right to know what hazards are associated with the chemicals they use in the workplace. Both manufacturers of chemicals and employers with chemicals in their workplace, must be in compliance with this regulation as it is the most often cited violation by OSHA, with fines of more than $70,000 per violation per instance.