Outdated Manual Handling Practises Cause A Rise In Injuries To Healthcare Workers

Working in healthcare can be a demanding job, not only emotionally but also physically. Caregiver’s frequently using their own strength to provide manual assistance, whether that’s lifting, moving or repositioning a resident, puts repeated strain and pressure on their bodies.

Due to this repeated strain and pressure, healthcare workers face the great risk of experiencing musculoskeletal injuries, which includes; disc degeneration or prolapse, lower back pain, pulled or torn ligaments, strained muscles, nerve damage and herniated discs.

“Healthcare workers often experience musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) at a rate exceeding that of workers in construction, mining and manufacturing”

Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC)

Manual handling injuries are becoming even more common due to the use of outdated manual handling techniques, physically moving a resident with equipment such as a ‘Moving and Handling Belt’ or also known as the ‘Transfer Belt’. This technique combined with the increasing number of bariatric patients and residents leaves a rising number of healthcare workers being injured, taking time off sick and needing to retire early.

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“Direct and indirect costs associated with back injuries in the healthcare industry are estimated to be $20 billion annually.”

Collins JW, Nelson, A Safe Lifting and Movement of Nursing Home Residents, Cincinnati, OH: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

The current healthcare and nursing workforce’s average age is 46.8 years old and therefore a 30% shortage of workers by 2020 is to be expected and yet the number of elderly people who require assistance is increasing rapidly.

With this in mind, it’s important to be active in trying to retain the health of the current nursing staff and reducing MSDs and work-related ill-health by protecting them from manual handling injuries.

Recent research has shown that whilst manual handling injuries can’t be completely eliminated, they can help to significantly reduce them by using appropriate lifting equipment to avoid manual exertion and consequently reducing the likelihood of sustaining an injury.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) carried out a lab and field study which identified how to safely lift nursing home residents by removing the need for manual handling and exertion. NIOSH completed a large field study to determine if lifting equipment would be a good ‘intervention’ and have a positive effect on reducing injury to health care workers.

The results are as follows:

“During the 6-year period, 1,728 nursing personnel were followed before and after implementation of the intervention. After the intervention, there was a significant reduction in injuries involving resident handling, workers’ compensation costs, and lost workday injuries.”

“When injury rates associated with patient handling were examined, workers’ compensation claims rates per 100 nursing staff were reduced by 61%, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recorded that injury rates decreased by 46% and first reports of employee injury rates were reduced by 35%.”

The Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

By updating manual handling practices, this can help prevent long-term physical and physiological damage because using appropriate lifting equipment has been shown to be a practical and beneficial solution.

The Mangar Camel is an emergency lifting cushion able to help prevent a manual handling injury. This is because the Mangar Camel can lift up to 700lbs single-handedly.

It’s lightweight, portable, simple to use and takes away the need to manually lift a resident and therefore protects the caregiver.

If you’re interested in finding out further information regarding the Mangar Camel or would like to request a free demonstration, please click here.



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