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Module 5

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Legal-Ethical Considerations to Promote Safe Working Conditions

Note: If you must stop before the end of the course, be sure to remember the module number and section where you stop so you do not have to start the course from the beginning when returning.

Competency: Identify employer and employee legal and ethical roles and responsibilities that promote and maintain safe working conditions.


  • Describe the Occupational Safety and Health Act as a legal framework for worker safety and health.
  • Identify examples of important standards and guidelines related to the healthcare environment.
  • Describe ethical principles that guide professional practice and give related examples.

In the work environment, there are specific laws and standards such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Bloodborne Pathogen Standard and the Respiratory Protection Standard that are designed to protect workers from work-related health hazards such as chemical and biological agent exposure. Having knowledge of laws, standards, and regulations regarding workplace safety and health can help the healthcare worker better understand employer and employee obligations for hazard prevention and control. In addition, OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health provide guidance documents that give excellent information related to specific topics such as workplace violence and handling hazardous drugs.

This training should not be construed as legal advice and is not intended to replace the need to seek legal counsel in any employment situation. Any perceived discrepancies between an authority as interpreted in this training’s summaries and the authorities themselves should be resolved in favor of the authorities (e.g., the actual law or standard).

Ethical concerns may arise in healthcare workplace environments. Ethical principles regarding workplace safety and health can provide valuable guidance in decision-making to safeguard healthcare workers in delivering effective practice.