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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Safe Lifting, Legislature, and Caregiver Injuries

Many websites dealing with nurses, caregivers and others who lift patients have news regarding current or proposed legislation to reduce manual lifting by using lifting devices.

When I worked for a skilled nursing facility we had several types of lift devices, and we were trained in how to use them. If someone is not accustomed to using lifts, or if a patient is not used to being lifted with lifts, training and experience can help people become comfortable with it.

At first the lift may look like a strange foreign object, but the caregivers using it and the people being lifted, became accustomed to it as part of the usual routine.

It can be part of a behavior modification. At the facility where I worked, everyone was accustomed to using lifting devices. The lifting devices helped to prevent back and other injuries in the caregivers, and injuries to the patients.

Below is a quote from the OSHA website regarding reducing manual lifting of patients in nursing homes.

Providing an alternative to manual resident lifting is the primary goal of the ergonomics process in the nursing home setting and of these guidelines. OSHA recommends that manual lifting of residents be minimized in all cases and eliminated when feasible. "

At the website there is a legislative update which refers to Minnesota's goal of minimizing manual lifting of patients by nurses and other workers.

"by January 1, 2008, every licensed health care facility in the state shall adopt a written safe patient handling program establishing the facility's plan to achieve by January 1, 2011, the goal of minimizing manual lifting of patients by nurses and other direct patient care workers by utilizing safe patient handling equipment."


The safeliftingportal website offers a huge variety of information about recent legislature, reducing manual lifting, lift devices that are available, and avoiding injuries from lifting people.

For a list of ways to prevent injury you can visit .

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has its website at and information about injuries from caregivers and other workers lifting people is available there.

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