Today's News / Occupational Safety

Many health care worker injuries caused by patient transfers

Updated equipment could help

November 30, 2013

OSHA's issues workplace violence bulletin.The majority of occupational injuries suffered by clinicians and nurses are due to patient transfers, according to a recent survey, which found that one in three clinicians and nurses report being injured while moving patients from a bed to a chair.

In the survey by Nurture, a Steelcase brand, nearly half (46 percent) of the respondents perform patient transfers more than once a week. Most reported a low to moderate level of fear/concern around their jobs, with risk of patient injury (31%) is a greater concern than risk of personal injury (20%).

To minimize the risk of injury, 24% of those surveyed modify their activity or movement during at least one shift. To maintain their health and safety on the job, most clinicians and nurses rely on help from colleagues (74%) or make an effort to stay fit (65%). While half feel their work environment is supportive in preventing discomfort, injury or pain, the most desired change clinicians and nurses want out of their work environment centers around updating equipment and furniture (25%) followed by rearranging the physical space to be better aligned with patient needs (23%).

Patient injuries do occur - 10% say at least one of their patients has been injured while on the job.

"Given clinicians and nurses have so much direct contact with patients, their roles are becoming ever more important to the healthcare environment and patient satisfaction," said Alan Rheault, Director, Industrial Design, Nurture."Yet we find that clinicians and nurses still experience a high rate of injuries on the job despite working in supportive environments - which then begs the question: What does the healthcare industry need to do to ensure caregivers' work environments pose lower risk and encourage greater well-being for everyone?

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