A provincial strategy for health care workplace musculoskeletal (MSI) injury prevention.

“An average nurse will lift the equivalent of 1.8 tons in 8 hours”

Health Care Workers Have High Injury Rates.

Almost 80 percent of all time loss claims reported to the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia (WCB) by health care workers are musculoskeletal injuries (strains and sprains).  Healthcare has some of the highest injury rates of any industry.

Workplace MSI Hazard Categories.

Musculoskeletal injuries occur due to specific hazards that exist in the work environment.  The Soteria Strains team groups these hazards into 3 broad categories:

  • Patient handling and mobility
  • Office/Lab ergonomics
  • Material handling/other

Why Safe Patient Handling and Mobility?

Approximately 50% of the time loss claims in health care reported to WCB were linked to some type of manual patient lift or transfer task.

The Soteria Strains team is currently focused on researching and designing materials to support organizations’ efforts to implement safe patient handling and mobilization programs.  The other categories will be targeted as implementation of safe patient handling and mobilization programs are firmly under way.

This work is important for many reasons. Here are just a few:

  • Improved safety of patients and health care workers. Effective safe patient handling programs improve patient outcomes and satisfaction. Soteria Strains will create a unified approach that seeks to reduce musculoskeletal injuries and all their associated harms.
  • Efficiency. Reduced overtime, lost time due to illness, and an integrated provincial approach to better care will contribute to savings or, at the least, prevent increased costs. Working safer, using tools for efficiency and keeping our employees healthy at work can prevent reductions to essential programs and services.
  • It’s the right thing to do. Quality and safety are central to providing optimal health care.  Improving safety in health care settings improves safety for health care workers and patients.

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