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Patient Care Ergonomics Resource Guide: Safe Patient Handling ...

Patient Care Ergonomics Resource Guide: Safe Patient Handling ...

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Patient Care Ergonomics Resource Guide: Safe Patient Handling & Movement Department of Veterans Affairs 16

Ergonomic Workplace Assessments of Nursing Environments Department of Veterans Affairs Chapter 3 – Ergonomic Workplace Assessments of Nursing Environments ��Introduction Ergonomics, matching job tasks to workers’ capabilities, is receiving much attention today. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) made ergonomics an emphasis in the 1990’s. Ideas presented for proposed standards on Ergonomics ask employers to study their workplace for the presence of risk factors. One principal risk factor is frequent or forceful manual lifting, as is found in patient handling and movement tasks. Once a jobrelated risk factor is identified in the workplace, OSHA recommended it be analyzed and a method to improve the job developed. Through the principles of ergonomics, jobs can be redesigned and improved to be within reasonable limits of human capabilities. The basic principles of ergonomics seem to offer the best hope in improving the problems associated with occupational musculoskeletal disorders in nursing. However, ergonomics is not a magical solution and to be effective, a well thought out system of implementation or an ergonomics management program must be developed. The purpose of this chapter is to present a protocol for conducting an ergonomic assessment of patient care environments. This approach represents one facet of safe patient handling and movement and is a step towards the goal of decreasing the incidence and severity of job-related injuries in nursing practice. ��Potential Benefits of an Ergonomics Program In order to secure commitment from top management, some groundwork may be necessary to establish the need for a back injury prevention program. A review of injury statistics and costs are probably the two most important factors in establishing this need. This data can then be used to identify the units with the highest level of risk and establish a baseline from which you can evaluate the effectiveness of your interventions. As with any program, goals and objectives should be developed. Key objectives for a comprehensive ergonomic program are delineated below. Each facility needs to select targets that are meaningful; e.g., you may target a 30% reduction in lost workdays related to patient handling and movement tasks. •= Reduce the incidence of employee injuries related to patient handling and movement tasks by ____%. •= Reduce the number of lost workdays related to patient handling and movement tasks by ____%. •= Eliminate by ____% of all manual patient transfers. 17

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