Workplace Safety Initiative
According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, two of the leading causes of health care worker injuries are manual patient lifting and workplace violence. Musculoskeletal disorder injuries are generally due to overexertion related to repeated manual patient handling activities, often involving heavy manual lifting associated with transferring and repositioning patients and working in extremely awkward postures. The consequences of work-related musculoskeletal injuries among health care workers are substantial both to the workers themselves and to employers.
Meanwhile, health care and social assistance workers are nearly five times more likely to be injured and require time away from work as a result of workplace violence. Oregon's hospitals are committed to a culture of safety and believe that no incidence of violence should be tolerated.
To help address these issues, OAHHS convened the Workplace Safety Initiative (WSI) Work Group in 2014 to find ways to collaboratively work on solutions. Work group members included representatives from SEIU Local 49, the Oregon Nurses Association, and representatives from various OAHHS member hospitals in Oregon. Lynda Enos, RN, BSN, MS, COHN-S, CPE, Ergonomics/Human Factors Consultant, HumanFit, LLC was the consultant working directly with the pilot hospitals, including writing the WPV toolkit and the SPH tools.
The goals of the WSI project are to:
- Identify and implement evidence-based programs to reduce injuries from patient handling and workplace violence and foster sustainable cultural change.
- Strengthen relationships with partner organizations around health care worker and patient safety issues.
- Disseminate lessons learned and tools developed to all hospitals in Oregon to assist implementation of sustainable effective workplace safety programs.
To reach these goals, the group developed a pilot project working with Oregon hospitals. Volunteer hospitals of varying sizes from across the state participated in the safe patient handling project or the Workplace Violence Prevention project. The work with these pilot hospitals directly informed the materials provided below.