What is your BACK worth?

  1. Congress may have bowed to the employers & rescinded the ergonomic standard that could have saved our backs & Bush may have let them because his big-business-buddies lobbied for that, but "the game aint over till its over"......


    UAN Nurses Rally for New OSHA Rule at Chicago DOL Hearing -
    RNs Testify for Implementation of Ergonomic Standard

    Washington, DC -- Nurses from the United American Nurses (UAN), AFL-CIO, the union arm of the American Nurses Association (ANA), will rally with workers from across the AFL-CIO unions immediately following a July 20 U.S. Department of Labor forum, urging Secretary Chao and the Bush administration to "Stop the Pain" and implement a strong ergonomic standard...

    RNs testified at the hearing and called on U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao to stop exposing RNs to dangerous musculoskeletal hazards on the job resulting in painful, disabling and career-ending conditions.........

    "We need the Department of Labor to take action to assure current and prospective nurses that they don't need to fear a disabling musculoskeletal disorder if they choose to work on the front lines of health care," said Ann Converso, RN, (NYSNA) vice president of the UAN, who testified at the U.S. Department of Labor forum......

    Converso stated that it will take a strong OSHA standard to force health care facilities to address the ergonomics concerns of their workers: "Without a federal mandate and vigorous enforcement of an OSHA ergonomics standard, nurses cannot be assured of the workplace protections they deserve." ...........

    Low back injuries continue to be one of the leading and most costly problems affecting nurses, and nurses have one of the highest workers' compensation claim rates for back-related injuries. Nurses are often called upon to perform repetitive patient handling tasks and equipment-moving that result in musculoskeletal disorders. At the heart of nurses' work are the very activities that can injure them - moving patients............

    UAN nurses at a Chicago bargaining unit recently started working through a labor-management committee to improve health and safety conditions for nurses, Converso added....

    Committee nurses recommended the hospital replace worn-out velcro strips that secure mattresses to stretchers, which were forcing nurses to pull patients up more frequently; and that the hospital institute a maintenance program to keep transport equipment rolling with minimal resistance. "This wish list is a far cry from assertions by the hospital industry that expensive, overhead hoists would need to be installed in every room, thus making an ergonomics standard cost-prohibitive," Converso said..........

    UAN nurses Maggie Flanagan, RN, from the Alaska Nurses Association/UAN, and Roslyn Muhammad, RN, of the Illinois Nurses Association/UAN, also testified before the forum regarding the on-the-job injuries that they suffered, which might have been prevented if an OSHA standard on musculoskeletal disorders had existed.........

    Muhammad's work-related back pain became so severe that she had to leave her ICU job and now faces surgery. Flanagan was disabled for eight months with severe back spasms after lifting heavy medical equipment. Despite recommendations by ergonomics experts to eliminate ergonomic hazards, her hospital did not correct them because it was not required by law.........

    "Work shouldn't hurt," Flanagan told the panel. "A job shouldn't rob you of your health. A job shouldn't rob a child of a healthy parent or a marriage of a healthy partner. American workers deserve workplaces where people are considered more expensive' than machines and more valuable' than profits."

    The United American Nurses, AFL-CIO, the union arm of the American Nurses Association, is the nation's largest RN union with 100,000 nurses and is made up of state nurses associations or collective bargaining programs from 23 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
    http://www.uannurse.org/pressrel/2001/pr720.htm
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    Take a few minutes to fill out the online workplace safety survey:


    http://www.nursingworld.org/mainsurv...x.cfm?sid=2200
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  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   Jenny P
    Thanks, Julie. Between sicker and more fragile patients, cutting staff, and not supplying us with simple, easy to use ergonomic devices, we are all put at risk of severe back injuries these days. Patients used to move more often on their own, and much better than they do now; and nurses have the highest back injury rates in any occupation in the U.S.; somewhere around 12% annually. We all need to protect our backs on a daily basis.
  4. by   -jt
    What is your BACK worth?

    "ANA Poised to Speak Out on the Need to Protect Nurses from Disabling Back Injuries -

    Last week the Department of Labor (DOL) announced in the Federal Register three public forums "to discuss possible approaches to addressing ergonomic hazards in the workplace." A long-awaited DOL standard on Ergonomics was repealed by both houses of Congress last spring and leaves nurses unprotected from disabling back injuries.........

    Worker advocacy groups, including ANA, recently petitioned the Secretary of Labor, Elaine Chao to again take up the issue of ergonomics and have the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issue a standard........

    The public forums on ergonomics were held on July 16 and 17 at George Mason University in Northern Virginia, July 20 at the University of Chicago and will be held July 24 at Stanford University in California. Information can be found at the OSHA web site:
    http://www.osha-slc.gov/ergonomics-standard/index.html

    ANA submitted our notice of intent to speak at the hearings and is awaiting confirmation of the location and time. We will once again be calling upon nurses to communicate the need for a strong, preventive standard to prevent disabling back injuries among nurses to the regulatory agencies and congress. Watch for upcoming notices on NursingWorld. "
    http://www.ana.org
  5. by   -jt
    Now this is getting interesting!! ........ a grant of millions$ to study the relationship & effect between nurses working environment, nurse staffing, pt care & safety.
    Someone is paying attention!!!


    AHRQ award of $7.5 million in funding for further research on relationship between work environment and quality-of-care issues

    Cited as 'particularly encouraging'

    WASHINGTON, DC - The American Nurses Association (ANA) applauded the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) for its release yesterday of new evidence on practices that could improve patient safety throughout the nation's health care system, and for AHRQ's willingness to commit $50 million in funding in fiscal year 2001 for further research on patient safety...............

    "ANA commends the AHRQ for its work in developing effective patient safety initiatives, in particular its commitment to devote funding for further research in the area of work environment and quality of patient care, including nurse staffing," said ANA President Mary Foley, MS, RN............

    Foley's response came in reaction to AHRQ's announcement of plans to allocate $7.5 million in funding for further research that focuses on the relationship between the health care workforce, working conditions and safety, and quality of care. "We are especially interested in seeing more research devoted to the relationship between nurse fatigue and patient safety so that best practices related to hours of work can be defined," said
    Foley..........

    The AHRQ report, Making Health Care Safer: A Critical Analysis of Patient Safety Practices, reviewed the evidence pertaining to 79 patient safety practices. Of those practices, 73 are listed as likely to improve patient safety, and 11 are considered highly proven to work, but are not performed routinely in the nation's hospitals and nursing homes. In addition, a surprising finding is that "more than a dozen practices long considered important by
    patient safety experts" - including changes in nurse staffing ratios - have not been sufficiently studied and thus did not make the top 11 list, AHRQ said............

    "Even though many of these practices are clearly valuable in improving patient safety, the report shows there needs to be more research so that we know more about which practices are most effective and how complex or costly they would be to put in place," said AHRQ Director John M. Eisenberg, MD.............


    While agreeing with Eisenberg, Foley also pointed out that ANA's Nursing-Sensitive Quality Indicators, which correlate sufficient staffing and quality nursing care with improved patient outcomes, already serve as an innovative, evidence-based initiative that may be used to assess and improve patient safety within the nation's health care system.

    The indicators include the mix of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and unlicensed staff caring for patients in acute care settings; total nursing care hours provided per patient day; and patient satisfaction with pain management, educational information, overall care and nursing care. These indicators have been used as tools in data collection for the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators, an ANA initiative that allows the profession to examine further the links between nursing interventions and staffing and patient outcomes........

    In addition, ANA's Nurse Staffing and Patient Outcomes in the Inpatient Hospital Setting study, released in March 2000, has documented that hospitalized patients have better outcomes in hospitals with higher staffing levels and higher ratios of RNs in the staffing mix. Specifically, the study tracked five adverse outcome measures that can be mitigated if adequate nursing care is given. Those measures include length of stay in the hospital, pneumonia contracted while in the hospital, postoperative infection, pressure ulcers (bed sores) and urinary tract infections contracted while in the hospital............

    "These various studies and indicators all confirm that patients fare better when RNs play a significant role in their care," Foley said. "But, as the AHRQ evidence-based report clearly indicates, the picture is still far from complete, and much research still needs to be done in this area, particularly where patient safety is concerned."
    http://www.ANA.org

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What is your BACK worth?