By Josh Kerst, CPE
Nearly 3,000 safety professionals gathered in Grand Rapids this week for the 83rdannual Michigan Safety Conference. It’s wonderful to reconnect with our friends to share mutual work experiences and advance the collective ergonomics/safety knowledge.
There were many great sessions, but one of the highlights was a talk on “Evaluating Push/Pull Forces in a Healthcare Setting” by Teresa Fisk of Trinity Health (current Humantech client). Trinity Health operates a network of 47 acute-care hospitals, 432 outpatient facilities, 33 long-term care facilities, and numerous home health offices and hospice programs in ten states. Terri shared that a significant number of their past incidents involved manual handling when caring services staff lifted, carried, and moved patients. Trinity utilized ergonomic risk assessments with quantitative analysis of push/pull forces to identify root causes and at-risk tasks. They started off by adopting a “no lift” policy with regard to patients and limiting all push/pull forces to < 35 pounds. To meet this objective, Trinity piloted several ergonomic equipment improvements such as patient lifts, improved 6-wheel carts, and even a unique inflatable patient transfer device called the Hovermatt. This innovative lateral patient transfer device uses air to elevate patients in order to significantly reduce friction during pulling, has power grip handles, and comes with a portable powered air supply, making the transfer task easier and more comfortable for both patient and caregiver. Way to go Trinity Health! And thanks again for sharing at this year’s Michigan Safety Conference.