MNOSHA Awards $500,000 in Patient-Handling Grants

Sixty-seven health care facilities statewide have been awarded grants by the Minnesota's Department of Labor and Industry awarded $500,000 in patient-handling grants to 67 health facilities across the state on Jan .15, with the employers adding a total of $351,938 in matching funds. MNOSHA's Workplace Safety Consultation unit provided them to help these care facilities buy equipment allowing employees to lift or move physically challenged patients safely and provide training on its use.

Most of the grants are for about $7,700, with the smallest -- $4,008.15 -- being matched 100 percent by its recipient. The department's list of recipients (www.doli.state.mn.us/pdf/sph_approv_grants.pdf) shows they are acquiring ceiling lift systems, powered stand up lifts, slide/repositioning sheets and systems, transfer boards, slings, and track systems. The grants will help these hospitals, outpatient surgical centers, and nursing homes comply with new state patient-handling regulations that will take effect July 1. "Without a doubt, Minnesota's care providers take good care of our loved ones who are in great physical need," said DLI Commissioner Steve Sviggum. "Our department's research shows health-care-based careers experience a fairly high portion of our state's workers' compensation injuries and claims, so this grant is intended to help care providers with the needed training and specialized lift equipment to help keep them safe."

Signed into law last May, the Safe Patient Handling Act (Minnesota Statutes 182.6551 through 182.6553) requires licensed health care facilities in Minnesota to adopt a written safe-patient-handling policy and establish a safe-patient-handling committee by July 1. The written policy must establish a plan to minimize manual lifting of patients by Jan. 1, 2011, by using patient-handling equipment. The law provided $500,000 for this grant program.

DLI also has posted its "best of the worst" photos on its site, www.doli.state.mn.us. These eight photos show imminent danger work situations voted by MNOSHA's compliance inspectors as the worst of 2005-2006.

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