Reducing carer musculoskeletal injuries

Efficiency of overhead ceiling lifts in reducing musculoskeletal injury among carers working in long-term care institutions.

A longitudinal study was conducted in three long-term care facilities to evaluate the effectiveness and cost benefit of overhead lifts in reducing the risk of musculoskeletal injury among healthcare workers. Analysis of injury trends spanning 6 years before intervention (1996-2001) and 4 years after intervention (2002-2005) found a significant and sustained decrease in workers’ compensation claims per number of beds and in working days lost per bed. The payback period was estimated under various assumptions and varied from 6.3 to 6.2 years if only direct claim-cost savings were included, and from 2.06 to 3.20 years when indirect savings were added. The significant reductions in injury rates and compensation claims support intervention with overhead ceiling lifts. A more comprehensive evaluation of such programmes should incorporate in the analysis important variables such as staffing ratios, job stresses, injury reporting systems and compensation policies during the study period.

Source: Statistics and Evaluation Department, Occupational Health and Safety Agency for Healthcare, Vancouver, Canada.