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Reducing injuries on the job

Nurses and other staff in Ohio hospitals often face physical challenges when trying to move patients. Researchers from the Center for Work, Health and Wellbeing at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health have identified a link between reduced injuries among health care workers and the use of mechanical lifts and slings. The center promoted a program to select hospitals that asked administrators to make a concerted effort to provide patient mobility equipment and train staff in its proper use.

Upper management chose this course because improved mobility for patients often produces faster recoveries. Helping injured and sick people get out of bed, however, presents physical risks to hospital staff. After making the mechanical supports widely available, researchers found a reduction in injuries among workers one year later.

This effort illustrated the ongoing efforts of the center to promote safety evaluations from all angles in the workplace. The director of the center said that improvements in workplace organization can reduce injury and illness risks in addition to the assessment of physical threats. Funding was provided by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Workplace injuries can be caused by a variety of factors, including malfunctioning equipment as well as the type of work being engaged in. They can happen even when all safety protocols have been observed. Most employers are required to carry workers' compensation coverage, and having the assistance of an attorney is often advisable when an injured worker is preparing and submitting the required claim.

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