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Osha Lifting Equipment Safety Analysis

[OSHA regulations]

Residents and their families should be consulted early about how mechanical lifts and equipment will be used and how it will improve their overall care. A facility's transfer and mobility policy should be discussed before admission and agreement to the policy should be a pre-requisite for admission. Second, it's important to ensure that caregivers receive education and training to understand not only how, but why to use transfer equipment. All too often, a caregiver relies upon outdated HSE regulations methods, such as body mechanics, to move patients. Introduced in 1945, body mechanics is a concept that with proper training, transferring of patients can be performed without the risk of injury. We now know this concept is simply untrue. Instead, caregivers should be empowered and encouraged to use lifting and patient transfer equipment. Step three is to ensure your facility has the proper transfer and patient transfer equipment and its use is mandatory under your facility's policies and practices. Equipment may include mechanical lifts, lifting aide devices, friction reducing devices, slide boards and bed systems that facilitate bed egress or repositioning.

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The Commission concluded that the back pain was a "serious physical harm" because it had a substantial effect on the ability of these employees to perform their normal activities and even disabled them for periods of time. The Commission agreed with the testimony of OSHA's nursing home experts who characterized the manual lifting of patients as "hazardous." OSHA had, thus, met two of the three requirements for a "general duty" clause violation. OSHA had shown for the first time that regularly lifting patients who may weigh 200 pounds or more is a hazardous activity and that it was recognized as hazardous by the industry. The Commission also concluded that it was more likely than not that this lifting was causing the high number of back injuries in those engaged in that activity. As to the final element - whether it was feasible for the employer to abate the hazard - the Commission did not rule. The company had argued that no general policy could be adopted because the appropriate method could only be determined on a case-by-case basis. The fact that Beverly had actually tried a number of in-service programs, including a "Lift With Care" program, was used to reinforce the view that the Company recognized the hazard. The case was sent back for further evidence on the feasibility of abatement, including the costs of various approaches such as mechanical lifts and revised work practices, but the settlement precluded further proceedings. In terms of OSHA's ability to find repetitive-stress injuries, the case is important in a number of respects. It is clear that, in the area of ergonomics, the review commission has adopted a very broad view of what rises to the level of "recognized hazard." Lifting patients is now in that category.

For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit https://www.crowell.com/NewsEvents/AlertsNewsletters/all/OSHA-Beverly-Settlement-Requires-Lifting-Equipment-To-Avoid-Ergonomic-Injuries


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