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Hospitals reduce workplace injuries with safe lifting programs

Workers in warehouses may be expected to lift loads up to 75 pounds on a regular basis. However, a typical hospital worker in California often lifts patients five times heavier. Can it be any wonder that so many hospital employees complain of workplace injuries? In an attempt to alleviate the stress and strain of so much heavy lifting, one study evaluated the effects of a safe handling program instituted at a small hospital and compared the results to those in a similar hospital with no safety protocol.

It is common practice to get most patients up and moving for faster recovery. However, more adults in the United States are overweight or obese, making it difficult to mobilize them without risking injury to medical staff. A survey taken before implementing the safety program revealed that 80 percent of workers responsible for lifting patients suffered pain related to their jobs. Lower back, neck and shoulder pain were the most common complaints.

The hospital's program included adding special lifting equipment to patient rooms, such as slings, ceiling lifts and devices to help transfer a patient laterally. All employees who dealt with patients were then trained to use the equipment correctly. As a result of the new program, the study showed a 32 percent decline in neck and shoulder injuries and a 27 percent drop in injuries caused by lifting or straining.

While reducing the risk of workplace injuries is always preferred, employees are fortunate to have workers' compensation insurance available if an injury should occur. However, sometimes it may be a struggle for people to get the funds they are due. To maximize the chances of receiving the compensation they deserve for a an injury on the job, many in California consult an attorney who has experience dealing with the intricacies of workers' compensation law.

Source: foxnews.com, "Safe patient handling linked to fewer worker injuries", Nov. 4, 2016

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