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Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention: Protect Yourself from on-the-job Injuries (Part VII)

Program Evaluation

Measurable indicators include the following:

1. Reduction in incidence of back injury, time loss and claims;

2. Acceptance and approval by staff and supervisors. This will be measured by evaluations completed by staff following annual training; and

3. Use of good mechanics and healthy habits is supported by staff and considered routine behavior. This will be measured by staff participation in Health Risk Management Programs.

MSIPP training should be presented to all new employees and reviewed several times a year for existing employees. By incorporating MSIPP training early in your orientation, you clearly show the new employee that personal safety is important to your organization. In addition, you provide them with the tools they need to protect themselves.

Routine staff training serves as a reminder of the importance of personal safety, correct body mechanics and healthy lifestyle habits. Unless you have a musculoskeletal expert on your staff, consider bringing in a consultant to guide the training experience. Musculoskeletal experts can be found among physical therapists, exercise physiologists, sports medicine practitioners, nurses and chiropractors. Whatever their discipline, the consultant must have experience with musculoskeletal programs and an accurate idea of what the job entails so the training will be relevant to the work performed. The consultant should be aware of the job description and may do a ride-along to see the conditions under which you practice.

It's helpful if musculoskeletal training includes verbal, visual and return demonstration training. Set up an obstacle course that includes frequently performed actions, such as carrying patients upstairs and downstairs, lifting a stretcher into and out of an ambulance, and bending, kneeling and working across a patient. These skills can be practiced under the watchful eye of the training expert. Tip: A powerful technique for teaching good body mechanics is to videotape an employee doing a lift and have them critique themselves.

As part of the training program, staff and supervisors should be encouraged to point out incorrect body mechanics or unsafe techniques. All members of a team should ensure there are enough individuals to move and carry patients and that responder musculoskeletal safety is considered before every lift and maneuver.

Remember to provide ancillary staff, such as clerical and maintenance workers, with training to meet their musculoskeletal challenges. Clerical staff generally sit for most of their work day. Although we may think that sitting in a chair is easy, the truth is that our bodies aren't designed to sit all day. Sitting for long periods of time can cause deterioration in muscle strength and flexibility and decreased extremity tone and circulation. Under the right circumstances, inactivity can also cause a deep vein thrombosis, which can lead to permanent disability or death.

Establish a peer support program to help incorporate MSIPP into the "culture" of your department. Each member of your department should have a part in developing the MSIPP so they'll feel invested in the process.

When everyone is encouraged to make musculoskeletal health a priority, a gradual shift toward safer, healthier practices will occur. With the emphasis on prevention, staff will learn to appreciate having a potentially dangerous lift or practice recognized and addressed before it leads to an injury.

Jump back to Part 6

Read more in Part 8


Source: Barbara Dailey,