The American Industrial Hygiene Association® (AIHA) has sent a letter to U.S. Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D. Mich.) supporting a bill that would protect both health care workers and patients from injuries. The legislation, titled the “Nurse and Health Care Worker Protection Act of 2013,” would direct the U.S. Secretary of Labor to reduce injuries to patients, nurses and other healthcare workers by establishing a safe patient handling, mobility and injury prevention standard.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that nursing assistants suffer the most injuries and illnesses related to musculoskeletal disorders of all occupations in 2011, while registered nurses suffered the fifth most.
“AIHA has long been a supporter of the effort to develop standards that can help reduce the presence of risk factors associated with work-related musculoskeletal disorders, including those arising from the manual handling of patients and residents,” said AIHA President Barbara J. Dawson, CIH, CSP. “AIHA offers our full assistance to Congress, OSHA and others to deliver the standards and legislation necessary to achieve our mutual goal to provide workers and communities with a healthier and safer environment.”
The bill is closely patterned after the American Nurses Association (ANA) publication, Safe Patient Handling and Mobility: Interprofessional National Standards, which contains national interdisciplinary standards for safe patient handling and mobility. AIHA submitted comments on those standards during the public comment period in 2012, and adopted a position statement, “Safe Handling of Patients and Residents,” in 2009.