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Lifting patients: The biggest threat to hospital worker safety

Hospital workers often do their jobs at great personal risk. With the intention of doing no harm and providing care to people who are ill or injured, doctors, nurses and other health care providers face the significant risk of injury. Dealing with sick patients and caring for people who are unable to care for themselves leads to a higher rate of injury for hospital workers than for those employed in the private sector.

California nurses and nursing assistants often suffer sprains and strains related to moving patients. It can be extremely difficult to move, lift, transport or reposition a patient, and overexertion is common. However, there are ways, through both training and certain equipment, to avoid injuries related to patient handling.

Why do lifting injuries happen?

Nurses and nurse assistants must often do the heavy lifting required by patients with certain medical needs without assistance or extra equipment. While the installation of mechanical lifts and proper safety training can reduce the number of lift-related injuries, many hospitals do not provide this equipment. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says the following about these types of incidents:

  • Proper physical position, strength and mechanics are not sufficient to eliminate the risk of injury.
  • Lifts not only reduce the risk of injury to the care provider, they also reduce the risk to the patient.
  • It can take longer to gather a team to lift a patient, which makes a mechanical lift both a time-saver and a beneficial safety measure.

Safe patient handling, proper lift equipment and safety training should be a priority for all hospitals and employers. Not only does this effort make it safer to work in hospitals, it can also reduce the number of adverse events involving patients.

I was hurt while working in a hospital. Now what?

If you work in a hospital, you may think that the risk of injury is just part of the job. While this type of employment does come with certain inherent risks, you are entitled to a reasonably safe work environment. If you suffered a musculoskeletal injury as a result of lifting a patient, you have rights.

Employees are entitled to workers' compensation benefits in the event that they suffer injury at work. An accident is not just another day at work, it is valid grounds to seek benefits to cover your lost wages, medical care and other losses.

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Law Offices of William W. Green & Associates
505 S. Villa Real
Anaheim, CA 92807

Phone: 714-464-6903
Toll Free: 866-543-7598
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