Healthcare workers — especially those who care for patients’ daily needs — have physically demanding jobs. Often, lifting patients can lead to overexertion injuries. How common are lifting injuries in the healthcare industry?
How common are lifting injuries?
Because of how often nurses need to lift, transfer and reposition patients when caring for their daily needs, sprains and strains are very common injuries. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that healthcare workers spend time away from work due to musculoskeletal disorders at around five times the average rate.
These injuries can also have a long-term impact on nurses’ careers. OSHA reports that around one in five nurses leave the industry due to risks associated with the job. Past surveys have indicated that as many as twelve percent of those who leave nursing do so as a result of back pain.
Manual lifting creates the most risk for workers.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) indicates that the greatest risk factor for lifting injuries and other musculoskeletal concerns is manual lifting. Certain body positions, uncooperative patients or restricted spaces can increase that risk. As a result, many healthcare facilities turn to team lifting, lift assistance equipment and other methods to decrease the amount of manual lifting their workers must perform.
Even with these precautions, healthcare workers may still experience overexertion injuries as a result of their daily work. Thankfully, when they experience these injuries, workers’ compensation benefits may be available to help them address the cost of healing and the impact of time away from work.