As someone who works in a hospital, you know that there are days when you’ll have to hold patients up, lift them and otherwise support them. Back injuries are common in a clinical setting because of how easily they can happen. From lifting geriatric patients to transferring patients awkwardly from one bed to another, it’s easy for one wrong move to lead to injuries.
Promoting the use of good ergonomics is one way that hospitals are starting to address these injuries. Ergonomics, or designs that are created to help perform a task safely, can help significantly. For example, using mechanical equipment and safety procedures to move and life patients in specific ways can reduce the manual exertion needed and reduce the risk of workers getting hurt. Ergonomics are also designed to make transfers and lifts easier and safer for patients.
When it comes to lifting safely in an “ideal” patient handling situation, the maximum weight limit is 45 pounds. That’s very far off from what most people weigh, even when those people may be minors or young adults. Attempting to lift more than this is what leads to back strain and other injuries.
What should staff members do if they strain their backs or are hurt on the job?
If you are lifting a patient and feel that they are too heavy or that the move is too difficult, it’s important to ask for mechanical assistance or for assistance from other coworkers. Team lifting and using mechanical lifts can both help reduce the risk of a serious back injury and subsequent workers’ compensation claim. If you do end up with an injury, workers’ compensation should help cover your lost wages and the medical care you need.