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Oklahoma State Department of Health

Press Update

DATE: May 16, 2000
CONTACT: Peggy Wiebener
405/620-6476
OR
Leslea Bennett-Webb
405/271-4200

OKLAHOMA CITY—Labor Commissioner Brenda Reneau Wynn and Acting Health Director Jerry Regier announce the implementation of an aggressive and proactive approach to reducing accidents and injuries in nursing homes. "The problems facing Oklahoma nursing homes are many, but none are insurmountable as we undertake the responsibility of restoring the public's trust. Numerous changes have already been enacted to ensure improved nursing home care for patients," stated Regier. "To that end, I am pleased to join with Labor Commissioner Brenda Reneau Wynn in a working relationship to promote the Department of Labor Safety Pays OSHA Consultation program to nursing home owners."

The concept of OSHA consultation versus enforcement has been around for almost three decades, but few in the nursing home industry have used this approach as a way to reduce injuries among employees while reducing risks to patients. The industry, however, ranks high on federal OSHA's inspection list because of above average lost workday injury rates.

The efforts of the Health Department in responsible monitoring of this industry will result in improved conditions for our elderly. Nursing home owners who also commit to. establishing an effective safety and health program in the workplace will see the added benefits of fewer injuries to employees. This means fewer risks to patients and lower workers' compensation costs.

"The Departments of Health and Labor have a responsibility to the citizens of this state. This working relationship will help both agencies fulfill a mission which places public service at the cornerstone," stressed Regier.

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