Working in health care is often tough on the body, and many of California’s health care workers are prone to experiencing aches and pains after lifting and moving patients. In fact, lifting-related injuries are far more common in health care settings than they are in the private sector, in general, raising questions about what medical employers might do to help protect their teams.
According to Health Leaders Media, nurses and other hospital workers experience about 75 lifting-related injuries for every 10,000 of them employed full-time. The lifting-related injury problem is especially severe in nursing home environments. There, workers report suffering three times as many injuries from lifting as workers in all other industries.
Why the problem may get worse
By 2030, one in four Americans is going to be 65 or older. As the U.S. population ages, the number of patients needing mobility assistance rises along with it. Americans are also living longer, which suggests that the number of patients needing lift assistance is going to continue to grow.
What employers might do to enhance safety
Some hospitals, nursing homes and other health care settings encourage their staff members to lift patients in teams. However, staffing issues make this difficult or impossible in many settings. The hospitals and medical environments that typically see the lowest rates of lifting-related injuries are often those that use patient lifts and other new technologies to reduce the strain placed on employees.
Health care workers who suffer debilitating lifting-related injuries may be able to get workers’ compensation insurance to help offset the expenses resulting from their injuries.