If your job requires you to move patients, residents or individuals, or you represent those who do, you have a new resource to help you ensure you can do your job without injury.
The state Department of Health recently released its Safe Patient Handling Workgroup Report that details the best safe patient handling practices and policies. The report was required under the state’s 2014 Safe Patient Handling Law, which CSEA helped lead efforts to enact.
The workgroup included state officials, representatives from health care, nonprofit, human services organizations and labor unions that represent direct care and nursing jobs.
Health care workers suffer more musculoskeletal disorders than workers in every other industry. Almost half of the nearly 59,000 reported injuries to U.S. hospital workers in 2011 stemmed from manually lifting or moving patients.
Safe patient handling policies have been shown to significantly reduce worker injury rates and have saved employers money in lost workdays.
“Safe patient handling equipment is really helping keep health care and other direct care workers healthier,” CSEA President Danny Donohue said. “By using these devices, the risk of being injured — and injuring patients — while doing this type of work is far reduced. Being able to leave your work shift without pain or injury is the real value of safe patient handling policies.”
The report not only outlines the state law, but includes many training worksheets, graphics and other materials from the Western New York Council on Occupational Safety and Health (WNYCOSH), as well comprehensive written safe patient handling policies from several health care organizations with model zero lift programs.
Among the highlighted programs is the New York State Veterans Home at Batavia, where CSEA activists worked with management and other people at the home to establish a safe patient handling program there in 2003.
In 2002, the home recorded 41 instances of injury related to moving residents. In 2014, there were 22 incidents — a 46 percent drop in the number of incidents.
Between 2002 and 2014, lost workdays dropped from 1,413 to 242, a 94 percent decrease.
In 2000, the turnover rate for certified nursing assistants was 48 percent. In 2010, the turnover rate in that title was only 8 percent. Similarly for licensed practical nurses, turnover was at 54 percent in 2000 and at 8 percent in 2010.
Read the report at www.health. ny.gov/statistics/safe_patient_ handling/docs/sph_report.pdf.