Ergonomics: Training Nursing Home Workers

Ergonomics: Guidelines for Nursing Homes

Section V. Training

Training is critical for employers and employees to safely use the solutions identified in these guidelines. Of course, training should be provided in a manner and language that all employees can understand. The following describes areas of training for nursing home employees, their supervisors, and program managers who are responsible for planning and managing the nursing home's ergonomics efforts. OSHA recommends refresher training be provided as needed to reinforce initial training and to address new developments in the workplace.

Nursing Assistants and Other Workers at Risk of Injury
Employees should be trained before they lift or reposition residents, or perform other work that may involve risk of injury. Ergonomics training can be included with other safety and health training, or incorporated into general instructions provided to employees. Training is usually most effective when it includes case studies or demonstrations based on the nursing home's polices, and allows enough time to answer any questions that may arise. Training should ensure that these workers understand:

•policies and procedures that should be followed to avoid injury, including proper work practices and use of equipment;

•how to recognize MSDs and their early indications;

•the advantages of addressing early indications of MSDs before serious injury has developed; and

•the nursing home's procedures for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses as required by OSHA's injury and illness recording and reporting regulation (29 CFR 1904).

Training for Charge Nurses and Supervisors
Charge nurses and supervisors should reinforce the safety program of the facility, oversee reporting guidelines and help assure the implementation of resident and task specific ergonomics recommendations, e.g., using a mechanical lift. Because charge nurses and supervisors are likely to receive reports of injuries, and are usually responsible for implementing the nursing home's work practices, they may need more detailed training than nursing assistants on:

•methods for ensuring use of proper work practices;
•how to respond to injury reports; and
•how to help other workers implement solutions.

Training for Designated Program Managers
Staff members who are responsible for planning and managing ergonomics efforts need training so they can identify ergonomics concerns and select appropriate solutions. These staff members should receive information and training that will allow them to:

•identify potential problems related to physical activities in the workplace through observation, use of checklists, injury data analysis, or other analytical tools;

•address problems by selecting proper equipment and work practices;

•help other workers implement solutions; and

•evaluate the effectiveness of ergonomics efforts.

Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20210
www.osha.gov
www.dol.gov

Updated on: 12/10/09
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Ergonomics: OSHA Resources

Resources that may be useful to those seeking further information about OSHA, ergonomics, and the prevention of work-related MSDs.
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