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Manual Handling in the Health Care Setting

April 26, 2016 0 Comments

Did you know that workers in the Health Care Setting score above average when it comes to injuries while performing manual handling tasks? In fact, manual handling in the Health Care Setting causes 36% of all injury and disease claims in NSW! And the most frequently injured body parts for Health Care Staff who work directly with patients are the lower back and shoulders.

Manual Handling Injuries

Correct Policies and Procedures Help Avoid Manual Handling Injuries

SafeWork NSW conducted a project to further investigate manual handling injuries in the Health Care Setting. They worked closely with 24 small, medium and large nursing homes and discovered the following areas could be worked on to improve safety:

  • manual handling policies and procedures
  • investigating and identifying risks
  • preventative actions using higher level controls such as design and engineering controls
  • active involvement of workers in the development of policies, procedures and controls for hazardous manual tasks

Hazardous Manual Tasks

The types of manual handling tasks that should be considered ‘hazardous’ and need to be treated as such are those that involve:

  • repetitive or sustained force
  • high or sudden force
  • repetitive movement
  • sustained or awkward posture
  • exposure to vibration

When determining which tasks that take place in your organisation are ‘hazardous’ (and which no doubt involve the above), you should assess them according to:

  • their risk level,
  • if it is likely to cause injury,
  • how severe that injury could be.

Maintaining an up-to-date injury register is an effective way to keep track of which types of activities have caused injury. This will give you a good indication of what tasks need to be looked at more closely.

Health Care Workers (and indeed workers in every industry) have a right to a safe workplace – and that includes policies and procedures for tasks. If you run a Health Care Facility, create and train your team members in safe work systems for all manual handling tasks from transferring patients and re-positioning patients in bed, through to bathing or assisting patients who may have fallen. Research and consider investing in equipment that can make tasks easier to perform and reduce the risk of injury.

Moving and Transferring of Patients is covered within the studies of the Certificate III in Individual Support qualification offered by Back to Basics Care. If your facility’s team members require training relevant to manual handling, then please give us a call on 1300 790 460. We can provide training that is tailor-made to your facility.

Filed in: Workplace Tips

About the Author:

Susan Stephens is the Managing Director and driving force behind Back to Basics Care. She is dedicated to providing quality learning and development opportunities to the Health Care Industry, and bringing you current and useful information applicable to the sector.

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