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New OSHA Publication on Preventing Musculoskeletal Disorders

Posted: April 13, 2014

OSHA has developed a new brochure entitled "Safe Patient Handling: Preventing Musculoskeletal Disorders," which focuses on safe patient handling for nursing home and residential care workers. While it does not specifically apply to funeral homes, it does provide important information for funeral professionals because musculoskeletal injuries could occur while lifting, moving or positioning human remains.

Musculoskeletal injuries can be reduced or prevented through the implementation of a safe patient handling program. In order to implement such a program, management must be committed to its execution, and it must involve hazard assessment, technology, equipment to control hazards, and training of front line workers.

While there is no specific OSHA ergonomics rule, citations for ergonomic hazards can be issued under the General Duty clause. Therefore, funeral homes should be aware of hazards and seek to mitigate them in order to avoid being cited during an OSHA inspection.

The new brochure can be downloaded from the OSHA website.