Health care/social assistance Legislation Injury prevention Musculoskeletal disorders

Rep. Conyers and nurses association urge safe patient-handling interventions

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Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)

Washington – Safe patient-handling interventions are needed in health care facilities to help protect workers from career-ending injuries, the American Nurses Association and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) stated during a May 12 briefing on Capitol Hill.

Nearly half of nurses experience a “significant level” of safety risk due to lifting or repositioning patients, and more than half have had pain at work, according to ANA, citing survey results. Intervention programs are “common sense” and could help prevent the thousands of musculoskeletal disorders suffered by nurses every year, the Silver Spring, MD-based professional organization said in a press release detailing the briefing.

“In no other profession would we ask workers to lift 90 pounds or more without mechanical support,” ANA President Pamela Cipriano said in the release. “Nurses and health care workers should not be the exception.”

Employees in the health care industry are among the most frequently injured workers, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2013, nursing assistants had one of the highest injury rates, and half of their injuries requiring days away from work were MSD cases.

According to the press release, Conyers announced his plans to reintroduce legislation that would establish a national standard to eliminate manual lifting of patients. The Nurse and Health Care Worker Protection Act is expected by late June, and is based on safe patient-handling standards developed by ANA.