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"It means you could be on call every other night, developing chronic sleep deprivation, as long as it averages out," Lazreg said.
OSHA head David Michaels said the agency is considering the groups' petition. He stressed that hospitals and medical training programs are not exempt from laws ensuring that employees' health and safety are protected.
In a statement to the AP, he said the agency "is very concerned about long work hours, fatigue and safety, not just for medical residents, but for all workers. It is clear that long work hours can lead to tragic mistakes, endangering workers and the public."
"With respect to medical residents, we know of evidence linking sleep deprivation with an increased risk of needle sticks, lacerations, medical errors and motor vehicle accidents," Michaels said.
John Nylen, the accrediting council's chief operating officer, said the new rules are based on thorough research, with input from residents and the medical community. The revisions protect patients, residents and medical educational opportunities, he said.
Accrediting council: http://www.acgme.org/
Medical students group: http://www.amsa.org/
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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