WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has developed Safe Patient Handling: Preventing Musculoskeletal Disorders in Nursing Homes, a new brochure that addresses the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders among nursing home and residential care workers.
“Musculoskeletal injuries are the single biggest worker injury in the healthcare sector,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “This new resource will help make employers and workers aware of the activities that pose the greatest hazards to workers who care for residents in nursing homes and residential care industries and what can be done to decrease risks to these workers.”
Healthcare workers experience some of the highest rates of non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses of any industry sector. In 2012, injuries and illnesses reported for nursing and residential care workers were nearly twice the number of those reported for construction workers, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics. Injuries include muscle strains, low back and rotator cuff injuries and tendinitis. This brochure explains how implementing a safe patient handling program can reduce or prevent the number and severity of these musculoskeletal hazards.
A successful safe patient handling program includes input from healthcare workers who work directly with patients, commitment to the program by all levels of management, hazard assessment, technology and equipment to control hazards and training.
Copies of the brochure are available online and through OSHA’s Publications Office at 202-693-1888.
OSHA’s Nursing Homes and Personal Care Facilities web page lists the industry’s most common hazards and possible solutions, OSHA enforcement initiatives including the National Emphasis Program – Nursing and Residential Care Facilities and information on implementing workplace safety and health programs to help reduce the extent and severity of work-related injuries and illnesses.