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Lifting devices help Tennessee hospital reduce back injuries
Baptist Hospital in Nashville has been recognized by OSHA for its use of lifting equipment to prevent back injuries among nurses and other staff.

Only a handful of states have adopted legislation requiring safe patient-handling practices, despite unambiguous evidence that back injuries to healthcare workers cost billions of dollars annually and are a primary reason for nurses choosing to leave the profession. "In the course of an eight-hour day, a nurse will typically lift 1.8 tons, which is pretty astronomical," Amy Williamson, a workplace safety coordinator for Baptist Hospital, commented to USA Today.

Nearly two-thirds of patients admitted to Baptist in the past two years weighed between 200 and 299 pounds, and nearly 2,500 of them weighed between 300 and 499 pounds, the newspaper reported. Baptist has invested in portable lift devices that can handle up to 600 pounds and has one on order with a 1,000-pound capacity.

“We buddy up so that whenever we are using the lift, the chance of injury is nil,” one hospital worker told the newspaper. Baptist reduced its patient-handling injuries by more than 74% percent between 2008 and 2011, according to the newspaper.