Myth vs Fact: Occupational Health and Safety Edition
Myths and misconceptions can spread far and wide before they’re debunked, and the occupational health sphere is no exception. Certain misconceptions about occupational health are common in the industry and can be costly for organizations that don’t know any better. Being armed with the right knowledge on these common myths helps organizations and employees confidently make health and safety decisions and access the right care when they need it.
Myth #1: Seeing any provider above a nurse is automatically an OSHA recordable injury
Fact: NPs and MDs can administer first aid in an occupational health setting. First aid, which can include cleaning minor cuts, scrapes, or scratches, treating a minor burn, applying bandages and dressings, the use of non-prescription medicine, draining blisters, removing debris from the eyes, massage, or drinking fluids to relieve heat stress, is not required by OSHA to be documented. Medically appropriate first aid care from any provider does not constitute an OSHA recordable injury.
Premise Health occupational health providers, regardless of their credentials, have been trained to administer medically appropriate care, which can be first aid. Virtual providers can also administer first aid virtually by recommending one-time, short-term treatments such as applying bandages or taking over-the-counter medication.
Myth #2: OSHA recordable injuries automatically result in employees missing work
Fact: Occupational health providers will collaborate with organizations to keep employees at work and safe. They do this by developing a deep understanding of the essential functions of the job and recommending accommodation or restrictions whenever possible to help employees avoid missing days of work. At Premise, our providers work with an organization’s safety team, site management, and staff to figure out the best accommodations that will keep workers safe and healthy without needing to miss work if possible.
Myth #3: OSHA is too busy to enforce all of their policies.
Fact: Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, worker safety has become more important than ever. In 2020, OSHA cited almost $4M in proposed penalties for violations related to COVID-19, showing their dedication to enforcing COVID-19 policies. OSHA will continue to levy heavy penalties on organizations that don’t comply with health and safety policies, COVID-19 related or not, which is why it’s important to have a trusted expert to support your organization’s health and safety team.
Myth #4: Workplace injuries only affect the injured employee
Fact: While employees may suffer lost wages from time away from work and medical expenses, workplace injuries also affect others on the job. The total cost of work injuries in 2019, including wage and productivity losses, medical expenses, and administrative expenses, was $171 billion. This figure also accounts for the cost of investigating injuries and writing up injury reports, as well as the time lost by workers who were not involved in the injury, and more. Workplace injuries are time and cost intensive for both employees and employers.
Myth #5: Virtual occupational health services are limited to nurse triage
Fact: Virtual providers can deliver holistic occupational health services including stay-at-work recommendations, return-to-work strategies, and follow-up injury evaluation and treatment, in addition to initial injury evaluation and triage.
However, it is true that not all virtual solutions are created equal; some vendors may be unable to provide a full spectrum of virtual services and are limited to nurse triage. This is why it’s important to choose a complete solution to meet all employee needs digitally, like Premise Health’s virtual occupational health.
With all of these common myths, understanding the ins and outs of occupational health can be a full-time job, which is why organizations need help from trusted experts to navigate the constantly changing landscape. With over 50 years of occupational health experience, Premise has seen it all and has successfully helped clients of all industries keep their workers safe, healthy, and on the job. Premise teams can serve as your occupational health experts dedicated to educating your workforce on common misconceptions and help eliminate misunderstandings that create barriers to valuable care.
Talk to us today about how we can help create a safer, healthier workplace at your organization.