The Division of Health and Safety

A Force for Safety in the Workplace

The MNA is among the first state nurses associations to create and operate an occupational health and safety program. The MNA Division of Health and Safety provides information, education and advocacy on issues related to occupational hazards as well as workplace injuries and illnesses.

The division’s staff of occupational health specialists works with MNA local bargaining units to advocate onsite in labor/management meetings and provides input on contract negotiations. Staff also present educational programs for members on health and safety issues. Such issues include: latex allergy, indoor air quality, workplace violence and abuse, back and other musculoskeletal injuries, workers compensation issues and assistance with filing OSHA complaints.

MNA members provide direction and input to the Division as elected members of the Congress on Health and Safety and by volunteering as participants in specific issue-related task forces such as the Workplace Violence and Abuse Prevention Task Force, the Emergency Preparedness Task Force and the Safe Patient Handling Task Force.

Highlights from the Division of Health & Safety

´╗┐List of accomplishments 2011-2012:

  • Developed a five year strategic plan.
  • Wrote contract language on ergonomics.
  • Obtained a student through OHIP and Tufts University for a Bloodborne Pathogen project that helped develop a survey.
  • Developed a marketing back board for Health & Safety.
  • Completed the Position Statement for Influenza and posted it on the website
  • Bloodborne Pathogen survey results are on the website.
  • Designed and developed a questionnaire at Clinical Conference on Safe Patient Handling.
  • Article for Mass Nurse on results of the lifting survey.
  • Article on the web site with results of the bloodborne pathogen survey.
  • Position statement on: “Initial Injury to Blood or Body Fluid Should be Treated as a True Emergency and Waive the Informed Consent”.
  • Planning Committee for the Violence Prevention Policy & Plan.
  • Students from Yale and Fitchburg to research violence prevention strategies.
  • Education developed and presented on The Environment and Its Impact.
  • Education on “The Prevention of Violence”.
  • Article in the Mass Nurse on “Workers Compensation”.
  • Education nationally on Hydro-Fracking and violence prevention.
  • Preceptor for three students in H&S for projects to help them complete their Masters programs; students from Tufts, Fitchburg State and Yale Universities.
  • Completed a plan and policy for the prevention of violence for all healthcare facilities to use and customize to meet their needs.
  • Support of Task Force on Safe Patient Handling.
  • Coordination of the Prevention of Workplace Violence Task Force.
  • Provided education on Health & Safety & MNA to area Universities.
  • Developed an educational program entitled:” The Environment and Its Impact on Nurses”

Goals for 2012-2013:

  • Improve communication on health & safety issues facing nurses today.
  • Practical Solutions to environmental & operational health & safety issues in hospitals.
  • Continue to work on improving the treatment protocols for all healthcare workers following a blood or body fluid exposure and waiving the initial informed consent, treating the exposure as a true emergency.
  • Coordinate health and safety issues with the National Nurses United.
  • Input into our data base current documents to protect our privacy and distribute information needed by the Labor Division.
  • The latest information on hazardous drugs and chemicals in education, articles etc.
  • Work with the Ethics Committee to help nurses advocate for patients at a time when doing the right thing needs to be carefully articulated in ethical terms.
  • Develop a stress reduction program.
  • Continue to prioritize the needs of our members as they are communicated to the Congress on Health and Safety, the Safe Patient Handling Task Force and the Workplace Violence Prevention Task Force.
  • Maintain our long standing relationship with State and Federal OSHA.
  • Continue to support and advise various state committees on Health and Safety issues.