Hospitals, doctor’s offices and other health care employers have a duty to protect you and other health care workers to the largest extent possible. Your line of work exposes you to many risks and health hazards, and some of the biggest risks you face have to do with shifting and moving heavy patients.
Per Healthcare Business and Technology, injuries related to lifting patients constitute the biggest threat you currently face as a health care worker.
Lifting injury statistics
When you earn your living as a hospital porter, a nurse or a nursing assistant, much of the responsibility for lifting heavy patients may fall on you. Nurses, especially, face elevated risks of suffering back and other musculoskeletal injuries caused by lifting.
Each year, nurses, by themselves, report more than 35,000 back and musculoskeletal injuries that are bad enough to keep them home from work. These injuries may impact your overall mobility, and in some cases, they may have a large impact on the quality of the rest of your life.
The financial toll
While lifting-related injuries take a serious toll on your body and those of other health care workers, these injuries also take a financial one. When health care employees miss work, the harder it becomes for their employers to maintain adequate staff. When understaffing occurs, the quality of care a health care operation provides may suffer, and this may lead to fewer patients and lower profits.
Some health care employers seek to reduce lifting-related injuries and absenteeism by encouraging their team members to lift as part of a team when possible. Many health care workers say this is rarely possible, however, because it is hard to find enough staff members who are free to assist. Arguably the most effective means of lowering lifting-related injury risks involves increasing your reliance on lift-assistance equipment. However, this equipment is often expensive, which may prevent smaller health care operations from being able to afford it.