Senator Al Franken (D-MN), on October 15, 2009, introduced legislation entitled the “Nurse Protection Act” (S. 1788), which would require OSHA to issue a standard mandating health care workers to use mechanical lift equipment when moving patients, according to a news post on ORC Worldwide’s web site. ORC Worldwide is an international EHS consultancy based in Washington, DC.

Hospitals would be required to purchase and use safe patient lift devices, implement safe patient handling and injury prevention plans, track musculoskeletal injuries under a data system, train staff to use the devices and on safe patient handling policies, and evaluate their efforts, according to the ORC Worldwide post.

The bill also includes whistleblower provisions for health care workers who report violations of any safe patient handling standard and establishes a $200 million grant program to assist health care facilities in purchasing equipment, according to ORC Worldwide.

OSHA would be required to publish a final standard within two years of enactment of the legislaiton.