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Policy / Program Development

"Lessons learned" from successful safe patient handling programs contribute to many proven best practices* to consider when starting a new safe patient handling program or evaluating an existing program. For example, having a written policy facilitates complete implementation and sustained success, while consistent management leadership can "set the tone" and make safe patient handling a visible priority. Also, a program is more likely to be successful if nurse managers and frontline staff are involved early in the development of the program.

Safe patient handling policies establish expectations that staff will use the safest techniques to accomplish patient handling tasks, and that administrators will provide equipment and resources to support staff efforts. In addition, proper training on equipment use is necessary, as are accountability and a commitment to the overall culture of safety. Policies should address the importance of using lift equipment correctly and following proper handling procedures to ensure both patient and worker safety. Safe patient handling policies should be designed as a pledge from administrators and staff to protect patients and workers, and should include clearly articulated goals and expectations.

How-to Guides

The following resources may be useful for hospitals interested in starting a safe patient handling program:

More Resources

The following resources may be useful for hospitals interested in starting a safe patient handling program:


Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Directorate of Standards and Guidance at (202) 693-1950 for assistance accessing DOC, EPS, GIF, MP4, PDF, PPT or XLS documents.

*These files are provided for downloading.

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