Organizations respond to OSHA's decision not to oversee resident work hours

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Nov. 21, 2011

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's denial of a petition asking it to take over regulation of resident work hours from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education is garnering mixed responses.

The American Medical Association and ACGME praised the decision, saying they appreciate OSHA's affirmation of ACGME's authority. ACGME "is optimally suited to oversee resident and fellow physician duty hours on behalf of both the profession and the public," AMA President Peter W. Carmel, MD, said on Nov. 9.

But consumer advocacy group Public Citizen called the decision regrettable and asked OSHA in a Nov. 3 letter to limit resident work hours. "It is unacceptable that the Obama administration has opted out of its legal obligation to protect residents from excessive work hours," said Sidney Wolfe, MD, director of Public Citizen's Health Research Group.

Public Citizen and several groups and individuals submitted the petition on Sept. 2, 2010. OSHA responded with a denial more than a year later on Sept. 14. The agency rejected a similar petition in 2002.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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