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Oregon OSHA - 350 Winter Street NE Room 430 - Salem, Oregon 97301-3882
For Immediate Release
June 1, 2005
Contact for more Information:
Kevin Weeks, Public Information Officer, 503-947-7428

New safety videos aim to keep health care workers healthy

Two new safety-training videos to help prevent back injuries and other strains and sprains in health-care workers, produced with a grant from Oregon OSHA, are available through the Oregon OSHA Resource Center.

The Oregon Nurses Association spearheaded a project team in 2004 to produce a video designed to educate health-care workers in Oregon about safe patient handling and care techniques and introduce them to equipment designed to safely lift and move patients. A second video teaches patients and their family members about how safe lifting equipment can prevent injuries to patients and health-care workers. Nursing staff from Bay Area Hospital in Coos Bay helped to develop the video script and performed as actors in both productions.

"Family members were sometimes alarmed to see a health-care provider lifting their loved one out of bed using a hoist device," says Lynda Enos, RN, ergonomist and coordinator of the video project. "Not understanding how the equipment can protect the patient and the provider from a serious injury, some people refused to allow family members to be moved this way. There was a definite need to educate family members on what this equipment was for."

"We didn't know a lot about new procedures and new equipment, so the video was educational for us," says Kevin Rood, an emergency room nurse with Bay Area Hospital and one of the actors in the video. "Since the video was made, we're using the safe lift techniques and equipment more. We have even loaned some equipment to a local ambulance company to help EMTs safely get patients into an ambulance. The equipment helps when the patient reaches us, too."

Seconds count, when an injured person is lifted out of an ambulance upon arrival at the hospital, or when the person is lifted from a gurney onto an examination table. ER personnel are most at risk for lifting injuries during these procedures.

"Back injuries and unsafe patient lifting hit pretty close to home for us in the ER," says Rood. "We joke that we're all one bad lift away from unemployment." Not all injuries are career-ending, but more than 500 Oregon health-care providers a year report serious back injuries due to sprains and strains, according to Workers' Compensation Division data.

The education project produced two video presentations. "Safe Patient Handling in Health Care: Applied Ergonomics for Nurses and Health Care Workers" is the instructional video for health care professionals. The second video for patients and their families is "Safe Patient Handling in Health Care: Patient Orientation." Each video comes with instructor and student manuals for safe patient handling classes, and a CD-ROM with additional resource materials.

Organizations that contributed support to the video project and assisted the ONA: Bay Area Hospital, the University of Oregon Labor Education and Research Center, Legacy Healthcare Systems, PeaceHealth, Oregon Association of Hospitals and Healthcare Systems, Corvallis Health Services, SAIF Corporation, and Mt. Hood Community College Allied Health.

Oregon OSHA provides grant awards to non-profit organizations (including associations, employee organizations, labor unions, labor-management partnerships and educational institutions) through the Safety and Health Education Grant Program. Oregon OSHA seeks innovative training projects that lead to injury and illness reduction in the health-care industry, agriculture, lumber and wood products industries, food processing and construction. For additional information about the Safety and Health Education Grant Program, go to the Oregon OSHA Web site, www.orosha.org.

"Safe Patient Handling in Health Care: Applied Ergonomics for Nurses and Health Care Workers" and "Safe Patient Handling in Health Care: Patient Orientation" are both available for loan from the Oregon OSHA Resource Center at 800-922-2689 or through the Oregon OSHA Web site, www.orosha.org