The first step in addressing the issue of patient handling is to assess the size and nature of the problem. Comprehensive reporting of worker injuries helps ensure that you have the data available to develop your hospital's safe patient handling program. Here are some steps you can take to assess your safe patient handling concerns and needs:
- Review injury data for your facility. Injury data can be a useful diagnostic tool. Such data include the OSHA 300 Log; the OSHA Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report); workers' compensation claim summaries; internal incident, investigation, and corrective action reports; and employee turnover and recruitment data. OSHA already requires many workplaces (including any hospital with more than 10 employees) to use the OSHA 300 Log to report serious job related injuries and to complete the Form 301 for every recordable injury. Recording an injury or illness in accordance with OSHA regulations is not a violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The OSHA 300 Log and Form 301, available on OSHA's website, help to identify work areas or tasks where injuries frequently occur.
- Examine your overall injury rates and see how you compare to others. Administrators and safety managers can use OSHA's self-assessment checklist* to examine your hospital's injury rates and compare them with national averages and high-performing hospitals. You can also visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics to learn more about injury and illness rates in hospitals and other workplaces nationwide.
- Examine your patient handling injury rates and start to pinpoint areas of concern. Use OSHA's patient handling self-assessment tool* to review and reflect on the number, nature, and cost of patient handling injuries in your hospital.
- Be proactive. A more forward-looking approach, to be used in combination with reviewing injury and illness records, is to be proactive in identifying potential problems that have gone unnoticed, before they result in injuries*. Observations of workplace conditions and work processes, job analyses, workplace surveys, and worker interviews are common proactive methods for identifying problems before they result in injury.
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*These files are provided for downloading.