(Washington, DC) – The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched its new “Worker Safety in Hospitals” Web site last week. The reception of the Web site by some hospital administrators has been less than enthusiastic, with one administrator saying they’d “rather contract bubonic plague” than consult the Web site.
“We’re already working 26-hour days,” said the administrator, speaking on condition of anonymity. “The bottom line is money, and we all know that. So now I have to make time to browse another health-related Web site? OK, I’ll read up on how to make workers safer while, without my expert supervision, they shove each other down the stairs.”
The Web site starts out by stating that hospitals are “one of the most hazardous places to work” in America, drawing criticism from several trade unions that represent blue-collar workers. “We reject that hospitals are dangerous to hospital employees,” said a spokesman for the AFL-CIO, speaking on condition of anonymity. “There are tons of factories and sweatshops in this country that are much more dangerous for employees.”
Another union spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity and not mentioning their union by name, added to the AFL-CIO’s comments. “Hospitals aren’t dangerous for hospital employees. They’re dangerous for hospital patients. By giving the wrong medication dosage to patients, or withholding vital medication, patients are rolling the dice by walking through the door. And that doesn’t cover incorrect surgeries and picking up MRSA and other nasty diseases.”
The Web site offers materials such as fact books to help prevent injuries to hospital workers. “One of our most-viewed fact books deals with running over colleagues with wheelchairs,” said a spokesman for OSHA, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We don’t recommend doing that. Also, doing shots of morphine – literally – is a no-no.”
OSHA adds that advice from high-performing hospitals should help cut costs. “The best thing low-performing hospitals can do is become high-performing hospitals,” said another OSHA spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “If you’re high-performing, you get more patients, more money, and that helps reduce costs for everyone. If you’re low-performing, you have the same bills to pay, but with less patients, it costs more. It’s not rocket science. Duh.”
What is noticeably absent in the Web site’s content is the need to improve morale in hospital and health care settings. These facilities have recently raised their rates to replenish the coffers of CEOs and CFOs while cutting salaries and staffing in order to improve stock prices. “It’s hard to do your job and comfort people when all you want to do is rip the head off the clueless idiots who run this facility,” said a hospital employee, speaking on condition of anonymity.