Imagine the dangers nurses face every day. Most people would picture open needles, biohazardous waste, wet floors, and angry patients. Surprisingly the biggest threat to nurses is lifting. In particular most nurses are injured on the job due to lifting patients who cannot walk.
Extensive training is given to nurses to ensure proper lifting techniques. Yet even with training, a high number of nurses suffer back injuries. In fact nurses are among the top professions which suffer musculoskeletal disorders, ranking among freight and stock laborers. The most recent data collected from the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that back injuries accounted for over half of the total worker's comp cases for nursing assistants.
Why do back injuries occur so often for nurses?
As taught in training, a proper lifting technique should reduce back injuries. Although lifting with bent knees and a strait back will reduce pressure on the spine, it has been proven that even a perfect technique can cause possible spinal damage. Many times the weight is too much for one person to move manually, yet nurses feel obligated to move patients regardless.
Hospitals attempt to alleviate strain on nurses by encouraging team lifting. Although team lifting is better than taking on the situation alone, it can still provide some problems. Lifting hundreds of pounds will exert too much pressure on the spine. When weight is unevenly distributed one team member may take on too much and get hurt.
Are there solutions to reduce back injuries?
Studies show the only true way to avoid back injuries in nurses is to employ mechanical lift-assistance equipment. The equipment is worth the price tag due to worker's comp payouts, nurse time off from injuries, and eventually lost employees. If you have found yourself injured from manually lifting on the job then it is possible to file for a worker's comp claim with an experienced attorney.