Marci Pederson, RN, BSN, Nurse Educator/Consultant
NIOSH Assessment of Risks for 16- and 17-Year Old Workers Using Power-Driven Patient Lift Devices
This month instead of addressing one of the top 12 deficiencies cited last year in long term care facilities in South Dakota I am sharing pertinent information from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). In this day and age we must collaborate and share information when it is helpful to the safety of our residents/patients/employees.
In October of 2010, the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor requested assistance from NIOSH in determining under what circumstances or conditions, if any, 16- and 17-year old employees can safely operate or assist in the operation of power-driven patient lifts. NIOSH explored available data, reviewed relevant scientific literature, and conducted a biomechanical analysis. Here are their conclusions which were provided to the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor on March 11, 2011:
“Based on a review of the relevant scientific literature regarding evaluations of patient handling devices and biomechanical analyses, NIOSH has determined that many 16- and 17-year old employees cannot safely operate power-driven hoists to lift and transfer patients by themselves, although they may be able to safely work as part of a team to assist another caregiver to transfer or move a patient/resident. Independent use of power-driven hoists by 16- and 17-year olds would put them at increased risk for serious musculoskeletal injuries. The biomechanical analyses indicated that 16- and 17-year-old workers do not have the physical strength required to 1) independently manipulate patients/residents when placing slings under them, and 2) safely push, pull, or rotate portable hoist on wheels when loaded with a patient/resident. Moreover, the scientific literature indicates that most 16- and 17-year old workers do not have the ability to properly assess the risks associated with using power-driven lifts. It is recommended that two caregivers (one of whom should be an experienced caregiver at least 18 years of age) operate a mechanical lift to transfer a non-weight bearing resident.
NIOSH also encourages the Wage and Hour Division to consider regulations prohibiting youth less than 18 years of age from manually lifting residents who cannot bear weight or assist when being transferred. The hazards for youth to manually lift and transfer residents and patients exceeds the risks associated with the use of powered lifting patient devices.”
NIOSH Assessment of Risks for 16- and 17-Year Old Workers Using Power-Driven Patient Lift Devices. Thomas R. Waters, Ph.D., James Collins, Ph.D., and Dawn Castillo, MPH. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
Review the entire NIOSH report.
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As a former health facilities senior surveyor, Marci worked at the Department of Health Office of Licensure and Certification for eight years. Marci provides Survey Preparedness Consulting designed to create a culture of constant survey preparedness by helping staff understand regulatory requirements, not just comply with them.
Read more Regulations Updates. The Avera Solutions’ Blog contains writings from Marci and other Avera Education & Staffing Solutions staff and consultants.
Marci Pederson, RN, BSN
As a former health facilities senior surveyor, Marci served a variety of health care facilities. Her experience includes nursing education, medical/surgical nursing, psychiatric nursing, infection control, utilization review and quality assurance.
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