OSHA Begins Mid-Atlantic Health Care Ergonomics Campaign

The agency is sharing information about injury prevention with 2,500 employers, unions, and associations in the health care industry in Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

OSHA announced a new campaign in the mid-Atlantic region to raise awareness about hazards that can lead to musculoskeletal disorders among nursing home and long-term care workers who are responsible for patient care. These MSDs include sprains, strains, soft tissue, and back injuries.

"The best control for MSDs is an effective prevention program," said MaryAnn Garrahan, OSHA's regional administrator in Philadelphia. "Our goal is to assist nursing homes and long-term care facilities in promoting effective processes to prevent injuries."

Through the campaign OSHA will give information about methods to control hazards, such as lifting excessive weight during patient transfers and handling, to 2,500 employers, unions, and associations in the health care industry in Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C., as well as information about how employers can include a zero-lift program.

The agency's news release notes that during 2010, there were 40,030 occupational MSD cases in private industry nationwide where the source of injury or illness was a health care patient or a resident of a health care facility. For MSD cases involving patient handling, 99 percent were the result of overexertion, resulting in sprain, strain, or tear injuries, and nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants sustained injuries or illnesses in 49 percent of these MSD cases involving health care patients.

More information on safe patient handling can be found at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/healthcarefacilities/safepatienthandling.html.

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