Ergonomics: Storage and Mobile Medical Equipment in Nursing Homes

Ergonomics: Guidelines for Nursing Homes

The following are examples of possible ergonomic solutions for activities in nursing homes other than lifting and respositioning.

Storage and Transfer of Food, Supplies and Medications


Description: Use of carts

When to Use: When moving food trays, cleaning supplies, equipment, maintenance tools, and dispensing medications.

Points to Remember: Speeds process for accessing and storing items. Placement of items on the cart should keep the most frequently used and heavy items within easy reach between hip and shoulder height. Carts should have full-bearing wheels of a material designed for the floor surface in your facility. Cart handles that are vertical, with some horizontal adjustability will allow all employees to push at elbow height and shoulder width. Carts should have wheel locks. Handles that can swing out of the way may be useful for saving space or reducing reach. Heavy carts should have brakes. Balance loads and keep loads under cart weight restrictions. Ensure stack height does not block vision. Low profile medication carts with easy-open side drawers are recommended to accommodate hand height of shorter nurses.

Mobile Medical Equipment

mobile medical equipment

Description: Work methods and tools to transport equipment

When to Use: When transporting assistive devices and other equipment.

Points to Remember: Oxygen tanks: Use small cylinders with handles to reduce weight and allow for easier gripping. Secure oxygen tanks to transport device.

Medication pumps: Use stands on wheels.

Transporting equipment: Push equipment, rather than pull, when possible. Keep arms close to the body and push with whole body and not just arms. Remove unnecessary objects to minimize weight. Avoid obstacles that could cause abrupt stops. Place equipment on a rolling device if possible. Take defective equipment out of service. Perform routine maintenance on all equipment.

Ensure that when moving and transporting residents, additional equipment such as oxygen tanks and IV/medication poles are attached to wheelchairs or gurneys or moved by another caregiver to avoid awkwardly pushing with one hand and holding freestanding equipment with the other hand.

Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20210

Updated on: 09/07/12
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Ergonomics: Housekeeping, Kitchen Work, and Hand Tools
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Ergonomics: Housekeeping, Kitchen Work, and Hand Tools

Housekeeping and kitchen work can present ergonomic challenges. Solutions for nursing homes environments are presented.
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