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Nurses Among the Most Likely to Suffer Occupational Injuries

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Are patient care workers in danger? Studies show that an increasing number of hospitals, nursing homes, and patient care facilities are ignoring important safety guidelines and risking nurses’ health in the process. The New York Times and USA Today report that hospital and facility management continues to turn a blind eye to the growing — and often unreasonable — lifting demands shouldered by nurses.

Nurse Injuries Garner Too Little Attention

“The official guideline from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is that nurses should lift no more than 35 pounds at any given time, but few hospitals and nursing homes follow that rule,” USA Today states. The New York Times, however, adds a much more troubling insight: “Not surprisingly, nursing ranks among the worst occupations in terms of work-related injuries, and studies have shown that in a given year, nearly half of all nurses will have struggled with lower back pain.” Thanks to the rising obesity epidemic, institutions continue to ask nurses to lift more and more weight. Most do not have assistive lifting and handling equipment; hospital staff are often stretched thin, so coworkers are not free to help.

The Precautions That Should Be Taken

The increasing numbers of injuries can be easily avoided with necessary precautions. Just as hospitals and nursing homes practice careful wire management as a preventative measure (workers install desk grommets and cable glands), they should also invest in lifting equipment that may save millions in lawsuits and workers’ compensation costs. Automated lifting equipment, or even wheeled medical equipment with swivel or ball casters, can drastically reduce the likelihood of worker injury. Some lifting equipment is capable of helping nurses safely lift and support up to 400 pounds, according to USA Today.

Hospitals and nursing homes can no longer ignore concrete facts: unassisted lifting exponentially increases the likelihood of injury. Just like hospitals take precautions with wire management, they should also address the growing concerns of lifting multiple patients in any given day. More info like this:

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