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Proper lifting technique to prevent back injury for nurses

Did you know that hospital workers miss more work due to injury than construction workers? While commonly overlooked, nurses face severe back and spine injuries with alarming regularity.

While back injuries occur due to many factors, lifting patients is one of the greatest causes. In recent years, hospitals have cut back on staff or failed to implement proper safety equipment or training in efforts to cut costs. These actions place nurses at a higher risk for accident and injury. What should nurses know about proper lifting technique to protect their back health?

Tips for safely moving patients

Throughout a shift, nurses may be required to quickly move patients from hospital beds to wheelchairs or chairs to gurneys. Patients can easily weigh more than nurses and put great stress on their bodies as the nurses try to move them. When moving a patient, nurses should:

  • Keep their head and neck in line with their spine
  • Keep feet shoulder width apart
  • Bend and lift from the knees, not at the waist
  • Assess the situation and seek assistance if necessary

These actions relieve some stress from the back, and can lower the chances of a serious back or spine injury. However, this does not guarantee than an injury will not occur.

The importance of quickly reporting injuries

If you are injured while helping a patient, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits to cover recovery expenses and lost wages. However, there is a limited window to file for workers’ compensation. You need to report the injury to your employer as soon as possible to spark the proper chain of action necessary for a successful claim.

How to increase your chances of filing a successful claim

To increase a claim’s chances of success, injured nurses should carefully detail the circumstances surrounding the accident, take down names of witnesses, take pictures of accident site and undergo a thorough medical examination soon after the accident.

If you are injured, take the necessary time off work to heal. Continuing to work with patients may exacerbate your injury and lead to permanent damage. Workers’ compensation damages should cover lost wages, and your employer cannot fire you or retaliate against you for justly filing a claim after an accident.

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