Safe Patient Handling
OSHA's brochure entitled "Safe Patient Handling: Preventing Musculoskeletal Disorders" 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.
Brochure: Safe Patient Handling - Preventing Musculoskeletal Disorders in Nursing Homes
Safer Workplace Chemicals
OSHA offers a toolkit to help identify safer chemicals that can be used in place of hazardous ones. The toolkit is designed to walk employers and workers, step-by-step, through information, methods, tools, and guidance to either eliminate hazardous chemicals or to make informed substitutions by finding a safer chemical, material, product or process. While no specific chemicals are named, the website does provide steps and advice for transitioning to safer chemicals.
The toolkit can be used by all types of businesses, including funeral homes and crematories. According to OSHA, using safer workplace chemicals provides a number of important benefits, including cost savings, promoting efficiency, establishing industry leadership and advancing corporate stewardship.
Transitioning to Safer Chemicals: A Toolkit for Employers and Workers
Background information on the Ebola virus and EHF, hazard recognition, medical information, standards for protecting workers from Ebola virus, control and prevention of EHF, and provides a listing of additional resources.
OSHA Ebola Guidance
These two guidance documents focus on the use of spirometry – a pulmonary function test that measures how well a person moves air in and out of the lungs – to detect significant changes in a worker's lung function due to the inhalation of dust, gases or other air contaminates that, over time, can result in lung damage. Spirometry testing should be part of any physical examination, whether or not required by OSHA, for employees who, as part of their employment duties, are exposed to hazardous and toxic chemicals or inhale dust, gasses or other air contaminates. Spirometry testing can also indicate lung dysfunction caused by non-workplace conditions such as cigarette smoke and other non-workplace causes.
Employer Document - Explains the need for spirometry testing and how a screening program can be implemented.
Worker Document - Stresses the need for spirometry testing for those who are required to perform tasks that are physically demanding, require a respirator or cause exposure to possible breathing hazards.
Indoor Air Quality
A free educational booklet, "Indoor Air Quality in Commercial and Institutional Businesses," addresses concerns about poor indoor air quality and the impact it has on the health of office workers and other building occupants. It provides building owners, managers, employers and workers with recommendations to prevent or minimize indoor air quality problems in commercial and institutional buildings.
Brochure: Indoor Air Quality in Commercial and Institutional Businesses
Additional indoor air quality resources
Funeral professionals can find specific recommendations related to air quality in the prep room in NFDA's Formaldehyde Best Management Practices and ventilation study.
Respiratory Protection Training Videos
This series of videos (some in Spanish) educates workers about the proper use of respirators on the job and cover the following topics:
- Respiratory Protection in General Industry
- Respiratory Protection in Construction
- Respirator Types
- Respirator Fit Testing
- Maintenance and Care of Respirators
- Medical Evaluations for Workers Who Use Respirators
- Respiratory Protection Training Requirements
- Voluntary Use of Respirators
- Counterfeit and Altered Respirators: The Importance of NIOSH Certification
Read more about the Respirator Protection Standard.
Respiratory Protection Training Videos