Some reports indicate a significant number of work-related MSDs in the healthcare facility occur in activities other than resident lifting. Here are some activities the caregiver may want to review:
Granted, these tasks may not present problems in all circumstances. However, employers should consider the duration, frequency, and magnitude of employee exposure to forceful exertions, repetitive activities, and awkward postures when deciding if problems exist.
Let’s take a closer look at some examples of possible solutions for activities other than lifting and repositioning.
Description: Use of carts.
When to Use:When moving food trays, cleaning supplies, equipment, maintenance tools, and dispensing medications.
Points to Remember: Speeds process for accessing and storing items. Placement of items on the cart should keep the most frequently used and heavy items within easy reach between hip and shoulder height. Cart hands that are vertical, with some horizontal adjustability, will allow all employees to push at elbow height and shoulder widths. Heavy carts should have brakes.
Description: Work methods and tools to transport equipment.
When to Use:When transporting assistive devices and other equipment.
Points to Remember: Oxygen tanks: Use small cylinders with handles to reduce weight and allow for easier gripping. Secure oxygen tanks to transport device.
Medication pumps: Use stands on wheels.
Transporting equipment: Push equipment, rather than pull, when possible. Keep arms close to the body and push with whole body and not just arms. Remove unnecessary objects to minimize weight. Avoid obstacles that could cause abrupt stops. Place equipment on a rolling device if possible.
Description: Equipment and practice for handling bags.
When to Use: When handling laundry, trash, and other bags.
Points to Remember: Reduces the risk of items being dropped, and speeds process for removing and disposing of items. Receptacles that hold bags of laundry or trash should have side openings that keep the bags within easy reach and allow employees to slide the bag off the cart without lifting. Provide handles to decrease the strain of handling. Chutes and dumpsters should be positioned to minimize lifting. Provide automatic opening or hardware to keep doors open to minimize twisting and awkward handling.
Description: Tools used to modify a deep sink for cleaning small objects.
When to Use: Cleaning small objects in a deep sink.
Points to Remember: Place an object such as a plastic basin in the bottom of the sink to raise the work surface. An alternative is to use a smaller porous container to hold small objects for soaking, transfer to an adjacent countertop for aggressive cleaning, and then transfer back to the sink for final rinsing. Store inserts and containers in a convenient place to encourage consistent use.
Description: Front-loading washers and dryers.
When to Use:When loading or unloading laundry from washers, dryers and other laundry equipment.
Points to Remember: Speeds process for retrieving and placing items, and minimizes wear-and-tear on linen. Washers with tumbling cycles separate clothes, making removal easier. For deep tubs, a rake with long or extendable handle can be used to pull linen closer to the door opening. Raise machines so opening is between hip and elbow height of the employees. If using top loading washers, use work practices that include handling small loads of laundry and bracing your body against the front of the machine while lifting.
Description: Work methods and tools to vacuum and buff floors.
When to Use: Vacuuming and buffing floors.
Points to Remember: Both vacuum cleaners and buffers should have lightweight construction, adjustable handles, triggers (buffer) long enough to accommodate at least the index and middle fingers, and easy to reach controls. Technique is important for both devices, including use of appropriate grips, avoiding tight grips, and for vacuuming, alternating grip.
Description: Select and use properly designed tools.
When to Use: When selecting frequently used tools for the kitchen, housekeeping, laundry and maintenance areas.
Points to Remember: Enhances tool safety, speeds process, and reduces waste. Handles should fit the grip size of the user. Use bent-handled tools to avoid bending wrists. Use appropriate tool weight. Select tools that have minimal vibration or vibration damping devices. Implement a regular maintenance program for tools to keep blades sharp and edges and handles intact.
Description: Spring loaded carts that automatically bring linen within easy reach.
When to Use: Moving or storing linen.
Points to Remember: Speeds process for handling linen, and reduces wear on linen due to excessive pulling. Select a spring tension that is appropriate for the weight of the load. Carts should have wheel locks and height-appropriate handles that can swing out of the way. Heavy carts should have brakes.
Before beginning this quiz, we highly recommend you review the module material. This quiz is designed to allow you to self-check your comprehension of the module content, but only focuses on key concepts and ideas.
Read each question carefully. Select the best answer, even if more than one answer seems possible. When done, click on the "Get Quiz Answers" button. If you do not answer all the questions, you will receive an error message.