Thomas R. Waters, PhD CPE, is a research safety engineer at NIOSH, Division of Applied Research and Technology in Cincinnati, OH.
Introduction to Ergonomics for Healthcare Workers
Version of Record online: 27 MAR 2012
2010 Association of Rehabilitation Nurses
Volume 35, Issue 5, pages 185–191, September-October 2010
How to Cite
Waters, T. R. (2010), Introduction to Ergonomics for Healthcare Workers. Rehabilitation Nursing, 35: 185–191. doi: 10.1002/j.2048-7940.2010.tb00046.x
- Issue online: 27 MAR 2012
- Version of Record online: 27 MAR 2012
- back disorders;
- patient handling;
- technology solutions
Healthcare workers who handle and move patients as part of their jobs suffer a disproportionately high number of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). The majority of reported work-related MSDs are back pain cases that result in significant numbers of lost work days. It is likely that these lost workdays have a substantial impact on the quality and cost of health care. Patient care ergonomics can reduce the risk of work-related MSDs by helping safety experts design the work so it can be safely performed by most workers. This article provides a general overview of ergonomics—what it is, how it can be used to help design safe work, and why all healthcare workers and administrators should know and understand how excessive work demands can lead to increased risk of work-related MSDs. The article will also explain technological solutions that can be implemented to reduce the risk of work-related MSDs for healthcare workers.