News & Events

Using patient-handling equipment to reduce injuries

From the Massachusetts Nurse Newsletter
April 2004 Edition

By Evelyn Bain, M Ed, RN, COHN-S
Associate Director/Coordinator, Health & Safety

The MNA’s Health and Safety Program recently responded to a "call for proposals" by the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents, Office of Safety for grant funding for the 2004-2005 budget cycle. The proposal, entitled "Beyond Body Mechanics: Using Patient Handling Equipment to Reduce Injuries to Nurses and other Health Care Workers," outlines a training and education project that will run from November 2004 to June 2005 and will train more than 125 MNA members and others.

The goal of this project is to reduce musculo-skeletal injuries in workers throughout the local the healthcare industry by providing nurses and others with the knowledge and skills needed to effectively utilize patient-handling equipment. Objectives of the project include providing training sessions that will focus on how to safely use different types of equipment, as well as to work to dispel the "injuries-can’t-happen-to-me" myth.

Four vendors of patient-handling equipment have already expressed interest in participating in this project should the MNA receive the grant funding. If selected, each participating vendor will be given the opportunity to present and describe its equipment, while participants will be given the opportunity to test the different types of equipment. In addition, MNA members who have experienced musculo-skeletal injuries will share their stories in a case-history format, helping to dispel the aforementioned myth.

The project will follow the format of previous Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents grant-funded projects, including 2000’s "Wheezing at Work: Work Related Asthma" and 2002’s "Applying OSHA to Healthcare Settings." These previous projects provided training to MNA members in each of the organization’s Regions, as well to members of Unit 7.

The Office of Safety will announce the winning/approved proposals no later than August 2004. For details, review the summer editions of the Massachusetts Nurse.