How a simple change in procedures could dramatically reduce injury risk for healthcare employees

An estimated $10 million in employee injury costs – including $3.2 million in back injuries and $1.1 million in shoulder injuries – are paid out every year by Monash Health in Australia.

To get a better understanding of the physical demands on employees, Monash Health, supported by Allianz Australia, used wearable sensor technology to provide information on nurse’s lower back movements, shoulder elevations and muscle activity during daily tasks.

Allianz claimed that manual handling injuries accounted for 58% of all employee injuries at the healthcare provider, with back and shoulder injuries making up the vast majority of cases. The average claim for a healthcare worker with a musculoskeletal injury is $40,000.

When it came to changing a patient’s bed linen, nurses spent 43% of the time bent over. Further testing found that a simple change in procedures and training could dramatically reduce injury risk, decreasing the physical strain of the task by up to 77% in some cases.

 “Workplace injury prevention is not a new concept but Allianz continues to search for innovative solutions that will benefit workers,” Helen Silver, Allianz workers compensation chief general manager said.

“Understanding the physical demands on workers means Monash can create safer workplaces and, ultimately, provide better care for patients,” she said.

“I’m extremely pleased our funding could help Monash Health make their workplace safer for Victorian nurses. I look forward to seeing what longer-term benefits the study might create for healthcare workers,” Silver added.