Work-related MSDs are defined as, “disorders or injuries of muscles, tendons, nerves, ligaments, joints, or spinal discs that are caused or aggravated by work activities.”
Of all occupational injuries or illnesses among workers in Massachusetts hospitals, about half are work-related musculoskeletal disorders, or MSDs. The rate of MSDs among Massachusetts hospital workers is, on average, almost twice that of the national rate. Decreasing the rate of work-related MSDs in Massachusetts is important not only because of the impact on the health of workers, but also because of the large direct and indirect costs associated with work-related MSDs.
Surveillance and prevention
In response to the high rate of work-related MSDs in Massachusetts hospital workers, the Occupational Health Surveillance Program (OHSP) has instituted the Hospital Ergonomics Task Force with the goal of developing recommendations regarding the surveillance and prevention of MSDs among hospital workers. The Hospital Ergonomics Task Force comprises representatives from hospitals, health care worker unions and government agencies, as well as academic researchers and ergonomics experts. Initially the focus of the Hospital Ergonomics Task Force will be Safe Patient Handling (SPH) programs, which have been demonstrated to be effective in preventing patient handling injuries, and thus work-related MSDs.
Safe patient handling
- Home Modification Information Clearinghouse: Transferring People with Disabilities Evidence Based Research: June 2009. The effectiveness of ceiling hoists in transferring people with disabilities (PDF)
- Association of Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare Beyond Getting Started: A Resource Guide for Implementing a Safe Patient Handling Program in the Acute Care Setting
- Facility Guidelines Institute: Patient Handling and Movement Assessments: A White Paper
- Washington State Department of Labor: Implementation of Safe Patient Handling in Washington State Hospitals
- United States Food and Drug Administration: Patient Lifts
- Americans with Disabilities Act: Access to Medical Care for Individuals with Mobility Disabilities
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Scoring System Helps Choose Approaches and Devices for Safely Moving Patients, Leading to Fewer Staff Injuries and Lost Work Days
- CDC- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH):
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA):
- United States Veteran’s Administration:
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