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Changing the Nurse's Role in a Federal Safety and Health Program.

Stanevich RL
NIOSH 1987 Jul:157-160
The role of a nurse in a federal safety and health program was discussed. The experiences of the author as the Safety Officer of the Huntington (West Virginia) District Corps of Engineers were described. The Safety Officer's basic function was to advise the District Engineer on organizing, administering, and implementing an occupational safety and health program. Prior to passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA Act) of 1970, the primary emphasis was on employee safety, with very little thought being devoted to occupational health. Occupational health matters were handled by a nurse employed by the personnel office who had to divide her time between the Corps and the Veterans Administration. The thrust of the occupational health program was directed at how an employee's health affected his job performance, not how his work affected his health. Executive Order 11807 which required all Federal agencies to comply with the OSHA Act is considered to be the act that had the greatest impact on the occupational health programs within the Corps. Establishing and implementing the occupational health program as mandated by the OSHA Act was described. A salient feature of the program was transferring the nurse from the personnel office to the safety office where she was trained in such procedures as pulmonary function testing, vision screening, and audiometric testing. She was expected to visit each field installation within the Engineering District during the first year. She was also appointed to the District Safety Committee, a position that allowed her to participate in planning and directing health programs. The author concludes that the nurse has become a valuable member of the District Corps of Engineers' safety program.
Occupational-health-nursing; Occupational-health; Safety-programs; Legislation; Health-protection; Occupational-health-services; Employees; Regulations;
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings;
Horvitz IA;
Fiscal Year
Source Name
Proceedings of the National Occupational Health Nursing Symposium: State of the Art and Directions for the Future, Cincinnati, Ohio, June 1-3, 1983
Page last reviewed: February 11, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division