A Safe Patient Handling Conference is planned in another state, but nurse aids, nurses, orderlies, physical therapists, occupational therapists and emergency medical technicians in California face similar risks and deserve the same attention. Reportedly health care workers nationwide file more claims for musculoskeletal injuries and chronic back pain than workers in any other industry. Safety authorities say the primary cause for lost workdays and benefits claims is unsafe handling of patients, and this will be the focus of the conference.
High-risk activities that are par for the course for health care workers include repositioning patients in their beds and lifting them from their beds to take them to the showers or help them onto toilets. The workers often have to deal with elderly or obese patients, which exacerbates the risk of injuries. Authorities say teaching health care workers also to look after their own health by using safe lifting techniques is crucial, along with facilities to provide lifting equipment to limit overexertion.