Another year, another billion dollar increase in lost-time injury costs for healthcare: 15.9 million healthcare workers continue to record some of the highest injury rates in the nation, costing the industry $14 billion, and at least two million lost work days in 2012. Provider and patient populations continue to grow, and millions of healthcare-associated infections and fatalities each year demonstrate the link between worker and patient safety. Though still relatively few, beginning in 2012 targeted inspections and Regional and National Emphasis programs aim additional inspections at nursing and residential care facilities. Continuing losses in human and economic capital due to injuries make the case for building a safety culture in healthcare.
Healthcare workers made up approximately 12% of the 2012 U.S. workforce (132 million) and included 15.9 million professionals, technicians, support workers and others not directly providing patient care (i.e., maintenance and laundry). A steadily growing sector, the healthcare worker population already far exceeds that of the U.S. manufacturing sector (12 million) (Bureau of Labor Statistics 2013).
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) identifies three healthcare subsectors within the healthcare and social assistance sector (NAICS 62): ambulatory health (NAICS 621), with a 2012 worker population of 6.4 million divided across physician offices (2.4 million); home healthcare (1.2 million), outpatient and ambulatory surgery centers (0.7 million) and similar; hospitals (NAICS 622) with six million workers; and nursing and residential care (NAICS 623) with 3.4 million (Bureau of Labor Statistics 2013).