SECTION 2

Focus of ErgonomicsInHealthcare.org


Key Elements to Successful Ergonomic Injury Prevention in Healthcare:

Any type of workplace injury prevention program faces multiple barriers to effective implementation and sustainability. However, these challenges are much more significant in a healthcare setting. Barriers to providing any type of training are exacerbated by the issues of providing continuity of patient care and the problem of providing coverage for healthcare workers when they are participating in training sessions. Patient care responsibilities are a priority and present additional barriers to training in any healthcare setting and also complicate access to the targeted healthcare worker (HCW) audience that need to receive the injury prevention training. In addition, the dire economic situation of many healthcare facilities in the US presents even more significant challenges to incorporation of injury prevention programs that require significant financial investment.

Therefore, the focus of this educational website is to provide resources that address the barriers to developing and maintaining an effective and sustainable ergonomic injury prevention program in a healthcare setting. The educational resources and web-based training materials developed for this website have incorporated the following key elements that have proven very effective for the ergonomic injury prevention training completed by the Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine during the training of more than 6500 healthcare employers and HCW in 33 different healthcare facilities. Any successful ergonomic injury prevention program must address and embrace an approach to ergonomic injury prevention training and educational outreach that incorporates and embraces the following strategic goals and program focus:

  • Presentation of ergonomic guidelines and injury prevention training to BOTH employers and employees -- Any successful ergonomic injury prevention program must train management leadership and embrace active employee participation. Effective ergonomic injury prevention programs provide specific targeted training to 1) top management and administrative personnel 2) supervisors and health and safety managers and 3) worker trainers, health and safety committee and joint labor-management committee members. This approach fosters an organizational rather than an individual approach to ergonomic injury prevention programs.

  • Prioritization of TRAIN-THE-TRAINER educational interventions -- Recruiting HCWs for any type of training is a challenge, particularly since patient care responsibilities are a 24/7 operation. Successful training programs need to focus on a "train-the-trainer" educational model for the HCWs and employer trainees to take back to their healthcare facilities. This approach will allow much broader distribution of the ergonomic injury prevention training in a healthcare environment.

  • Technical assistance and FOLLOW-UP SUPPORT for healthcare trainees -- In order for an ergonomics injury prevention program to be sustainable, follow-up support is critical to employer and worker trainees. The purpose of this ErgonomicsInHealthcare website is to provide ongoing resources in the development and maintenance of ergonomic injury prevention programs for use by ergonomic health and safety committees, worksite specific ergonomic intervention teams and ergonomic injury investigation committees.

  • Incorporation of "PREVENTION PAYS" concepts throughout an ergonomic injury prevention program -- In the face of diminishing operating budgets for healthcare facilities throughout the nation, administrators and managers must be educated concerning the cost effectiveness of ergonomic injury prevention programs. Top management must be committed to integrating these prevention programs into their business plans in order for the programs to be prioritized and maintained. Therefore, any proposed ergonomic injury prevention training program should include a major educational component describing case studies of the successful interventions of other heath service providers that have incorporated cost-effective ergonomic injury prevention programs into their healthcare facilities.

  • Special emphasis for healthcare service providers that are SMALL BUSINESSES (less than 250 employees) -- A significant number of healthcare service providers in the United States are small businesses. These health service providers have very limited financial resources and often have no health and safety staff. Therefore, ergonomic injury prevention training and educational outreach in these facilities must offer feasibility, flexibility and simplicity in order for these small healthcare facilities to successfully develop ergonomic injury prevention programs of their own design. Even "no cost" and low cost ergonomic solutions can play a significant role in reducing ergonomic injury trends in healthcare.


Importance of an Evaluation Plan for Ergonomic Injury Prevention Training:
Another primary focus of this ErgonomicsInHealthcare website is to provide access to many useful resources that offer valuable tools and guidance for the devolpment of an evaluation plan to monitor the effectiveness of ergonomic injury prevention programs in your healthcare facility.  In order to access the impact of any healthcare training program on the reduction of ergonomic injuries and the successful incorporation of improved workplace safety and health practices, a well designed evaluation plan is critical.

Throughout this website, resources and guidelines have been highlighted to assist both healthcare employers and healthcare workers develop evaluation programs that provide valuable assessments of the positive impact of an ergonomic injury recognition and prevention in a healthcare environment. Several of the resources available at this website provide evaluation plan templates that monitor improvement in healthcare worker knowledge and work practices as well as improvement of injury prevention management decisions resulting from ergonomic injury recognition and prevention training programs.

For example, the Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine designed and implemented a complete evaluation plan to address the impact of our ergonomic injury prevention training on work practices and policy decisions in our targeted healthcare audiences. Using resources highlighted at this website, an ongoing assessment of the effectiveness of our injury prevention training in promoting improved workplace safety and health practices by both HCWs and healthcare service employers was included as an integral part of our ergonomic injury prevention program.

The success of our ergonomic injury prevention training was apparent from our evaluation results which indicated that significant changes in pre- and post training knowledge of ergonomic injury recognition and prevention resulted in changed work practices and management decisions as an outcome of our educational program as illustrated below:

Outcome Measure 1: Trainee knowledge of risk factors and work activities
that may lead to ergonomic injury in healthcare

 
Pre Training Knowledge
 
Post Training Knowledge

Outcome Measure Two: Trainee understanding of how to recognize and
prevent ergonomic injury in healthcare workplace

 

Pre Training Knowledge
 
Post Training Knowledge

Outcome Measure Three: Trainee understanding of work techniques and work
practices that may cause or prevent ergonomic injury

 

Pre Training Knowledge
 
Post Training Knowledge

Outcome Measure Four: Ergonomic injury prevention seminar was a
beneficial and effective injury prevention training program



Outcome Measure Five: Ergonomic injury prevention training will have an impact
on trainee my work practices, job activities, and management decisions


Outcome Measure Six: Ergonomic injury prevention training materials
included in program handout packet is a valuable resource


Process Measure One: The ergonomic injury prevention program speaker
was knowledgeable about the topic he/she presented


Process Measure Two: The ergonomic injury prevention program speaker
was organized and effective in his/her presentation


Process Measure Three: The program speaker delivered content that
was relevant to the trainee workplace concerns about ergonomic injury


Process Measure Four: The ergonomic injury prevention program speaker
used effective teaching methods and audiovisual aides.



Free Access to ErgonomicsInHealthcare.org:

We trust that this ErgonomicsInHealthcare.org website will serve as a valuable resource tool to both healthcare workers and healthcare employers facing ergonomic injury recognition and prevention in your healthcare facility. Access to this on-line resource is provided to healthcare workers and healthcare employers at no cost as a result of funding provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Arnot Ogden Medical Center. In order to obtain free access to the remainder of this website please click here to sign in.



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