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What is Safe Patient Handling

Every day, nurses suffer career-ending and life-altering injuries from repeatedly lifting and moving patients. Healthcare workers are over represented specifically for upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) among worker's compensation claims. Injured nurses contribute to about one-fourth all claims and one-third of total compensation costs. In order to prevent injury and protect nurses’ wellbeing in the workplace, health care facilities need to implement sound ergonomics programs.

Safe patient handling is the term referring to policies and programs that enable nurses to move patients in a way that does not cause strain or injury. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that manual lifting of patients be minimized in all cases and eliminated when feasible and that employers should put an effective ergonomics process in place that provides management, involves employees, identifies problems, implements solutions, addresses injury reports, provides training, and evaluates ergonomic efforts.