Worker Safety in Hospitals
Caring for our Caregivers
By establishing evaluation procedures and a process for enhancing your safe patient handling program, you can periodically assess the effectiveness of your hospital's efforts and ensure continuous safe patient handling improvement and long-term success. A few evaluation steps to consider:
- Set goals that include worker safety. Most hospitals already have safety goals, but the safe patient handling leaders include worker safety in their goals and measure whether they are meeting them.
- Track the success of your program. Examine the number and type of patient handling injuries, the root causes that led to these injuries, the number of lost work or modified duty days, and more types of program measures. You can also assess the efficacy of your safe patient handling policies. These data can also help you identify opportunities for improvement.
- Share results with your employees. Sharing safety trend data creates motivation and instills pride (and competition) among units to achieve success.
- Gather feedback from staff who handle patients. Realize that every program will need adjustments after being put into practice. Even small changes can improve the use of equipment and worker engagement tremendously.
Looking to build on your program's success? Learn from some hospitals that have implemented safe patient handling practices with positive results.
The following resources will help you evaluate your hospital's safe patient handling program:
- In 2011 (in a previous Alliance with OSHA), the Association of Occupational Health Professionals published Beyond Getting Started: A Resource Guide for Implementing a Safe Patient Handling Program in the Acute Care Setting. This resource provides guidance about evaluating outcomes.
- In 2001, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs published Patient Care Ergonomics Resource Guide: Safe Patient Handling and Movement, Part 1 and Part 2. Chapter 11 provides guidance about program evaluation and outcome measures.