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Course 774 - Safe Patient Handling Program

Safety guides and audits to make your job as a safety professional easier

MSD Assessment

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Introduction

Hospitals have serious hazards, from lifting and moving patients, to slips, trips, and falls. Caregivers feel an ethical duty to "do no harm" to patients, and some will even put their own safety and health at risk to help a patient.

Hospital work can be surprisingly dangerous!

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the likelihood of injury or illness resulting in days away from work is higher in hospitals than in construction and manufacturing—two industries that are traditionally thought to be relatively hazardous.

High Cost of Injuries

injuries

Injuries and illnesses come at a high cost. When an employee gets hurt on the job, hospitals pay the price in many ways, including:

  • workers' compensation for lost wages and medical costs
  • temporary staffing
  • backfilling
  • overtime when injured employees miss work
  • turnover costs when an injured employee quits
  • decreased productivity and morale as employees become physically and emotionally fatigued

Workplace safety also affects patient care. Manual lifting can injure caregivers and also put patients at risk of falls, fractures, bruises, and skin tears. Caregiver fatigue, injury, and stress are tied to a higher risk of medication errors and patient infections.

Rate of MSD Injuries

injuries
MSDs Resulting in Days Away From Work for Selected Healthcare Occupations (2011)
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The category of “nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants” was one of the top five occupations for total days-away-from-work injuries in 2011, and nursing assistants and registered nurses were two of the top six occupations suffering MSDs.

Total counts are influenced by the number of workers in a particular occupation, but it is also worth noting how the injuries are distributed by cause (i.e., “event or exposure”). Almost all of these occupations are dominated by “overexertion and bodily reaction” injuries, which in turn can lead to MSDs. (See figure on right)

Assessing the Size and Nature of Problem

The first step in addressing the issue of patient handling is to assess the size and nature of the problem. Comprehensive reporting of worker injuries helps ensure that you have the data available to develop your hospital's safe patient handling program.

Below are some steps you can take to assess your safe patient handling concerns and needs.

  1. Review injury data for your facility. Injury data can be a useful diagnostic tool. Such data include:
    • OSHA 300 Log
    • OSHA Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report)
    • workers' compensation claim summaries
    • internal incident
    • investigation
    • corrective action reports
    • employee turnover
    • recruitment data

OSHA already requires many workplaces (including any hospital with more than 10 employees) to use the OSHA 300 Log to report serious job related injuries and to complete the Form 301 for every recordable injury. The OSHA 300 Log and Form 301, available on OSHA's website, help to identify work areas or tasks where injuries frequently occur.

Please see OSHAcademy course: 708- OSHA Recordkeeping Basics for more information.

Assessing the Size and Nature of Problem (Continued)

  1. Examine the overall injury rates and see how they compare to others. Administrators and safety managers can use OSHA's self-assessment checklist to examine your hospital's injury rates and compare them with national averages and high-performing hospitals.
  2. Examine your patient handling injury rates and start to pinpoint areas of concern. Use OSHA's patient handling self-assessment tool to review and reflect on the number, nature, and cost of patient handling injuries in your hospital.
  3. Be proactive. A more forward-looking approach, to be used in combination with reviewing injury and illness records, is to be proactive in identifying potential problems that have gone unnoticed, before they result in injuries. Observations of workplace conditions and work processes, job analyses, workplace surveys, and worker interviews are common proactive methods for identifying problems before they result in injury.

Instructions

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.

Good luck!

1. What is the first step in addressing the issue of patient handling?

2. Which of the following is a step to take to assess your safe handling concerns?

3. What are common proactive methods for identifying problems before they result in injury?

4. ____ can be a useful diagnostic tool track injury rates.

5. ______ was one of the top five occupations for total days-away-from-work injuries in 2011.


Have a great day!

Important! You will receive an "error" message unless all questions are answered.