Patient Care Ergonomics: Why OSHA Includes It As A Top Priority

Presenter: Mary W. Matz, MSPH, Veterans Health Administration

This presentation will delve into why Occupational Safety and Health Administration continues to target manual patient handling as a serious ergonomic risk. After the demise of the national Ergonomic Standard, in 2003, the very first ergonomic guideline that Occupational Safety and Health Administration released aimed to protect caregivers from ergonomic risks from patient handling. Currently, there is a National Emphasis Program (NEP) that includes Safe Patient Handling and Mobility (SPHM). We will discuss the biomechanics of why caregivers are at risk of injury due to manual patient handling and what control measures are available to decrease that risk.


  • Relay the rationale behind continued focus on caregiver risk from manual patient handling
  • Describe the biomechanics of manual patient handling and the relationship to musculoskeletal injuries
  • Communicate details of two patient care ergonomic hazards in healthcare environments and their control measures

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