What would you guess is one of the most hazardous places to work?
Construction site? Factory, maybe?
Either of those two guesses would have been correct 20 years ago, but according to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), hospitals are now one of the most hazardous places to work in the United States with 253,700 work-related injuries and illnesses recorded in 2011. Work-related injuries account for 93 percent of the total recorded cases, and direct patient care activities caused 25 percent of the workers’ compensation claims filed as a result of those work-related injuries.
Hospitals must focus on implementing safe patient care policies to reduce the risk of injury to healthcare workers. By doing so, hospitals will significantly reduce the average cost of workers’ compensation claims and ultimately prevent the majority of work-related injuries altogether. Hospitals that use safe patient policies have reduced the risk of work-related injuries by as much as 95 percent—essentially improving their overall bottom line.
When developing safe patient policies, hospitals should incorporate the following OSHA recommended investments to assist healthcare workers:
- Permanent or portable lifts. A lift consists of a sling and mechanical hoist. Patients are belted in, and the device does all the lifting. Ceiling-mounted lifts can even be installed with a rail system to move patients from room to room. Ideally, lifts would be conveniently installed above all patient beds to encourage their consistent use by healthcare workers.
- Transfer sheets. A smoothly designed sheet used to reduce friction and allow a healthcare worker to reposition or transfer a patient safely.
- Lift teams. A team of healthcare workers specially trained and solely responsible for performing all lifting and repositioning of patients within a hospital. The use of lift teams has reduced back injuries in hospitals by 69 percent.
While the cost of implementing safe patient policies can be significant, most hospitals recover their initial investment in less than five years through drastic savings from lower workers’ compensation costs.
Let us care for your staff and your bottom line. Partner with Inspirien today. We offer training and safety surveys to help you assess your team’s risk. Working together, we can identify opportunities to improve safety for your patients and staff.