|Feb. 1, 2012 | www.fisherphillips.com|
One well-known trend in American demographics may be responsible for the emergence of a new concern in the healthcare employment setting – a trend that is spurring the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to action.
Recently, an administrative law judge (ALJ) found that Virginia Mason Hospital, which has a collective bargaining agreement with the Washington State Nurses Association, did not violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) when – without bargaining with the union – it implemented a flu-prevention policy. The unilaterally-implemented flu-prevention policy required non-immunized nurses to take antiviral medication or to wear facemasks when in contact with patients, visitors and the public.
Each year the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issues hundreds of citations to employers in the healthcare industry. While medical centers, doctors' offices, and clinics must all comply with a significant number of standards, the citations issued to hospitals remain relatively constant from year to year.
Lots of folks may dream of a white Christmas, but healthcare employers often struggle with handling weather-related disruptions, such as snow days in the workplace. Even in a hospital, some departments or free-standing satellite facilities must deal with such events. Healthcare employers should therefore implement policies addressing inclement weather, including how employees can find out how a facility's schedule may be changed and what they should do if the facility is open, but they are unable to make it to work due to the weather.