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Safe Patient Handling legislation signed into law in 2011

January 2, 2020

Due to excessive and unnecessary manual patient lifting and/or transfers, RNs and other healthcare workers experience some of the nation’s highest rates of disabling neck, back, and shoulder injuries. For years, mechanical lifting and transfer devices have proven to be remarkably effective in reducing these injuries while reducing serious patient skin tears and patients being dropped.

This important legislation (AB 1136, Swanson) ensures that our patients are provided safer care and will help prevent hospital employees from suffering career-ending injuries.

The nation’s first Safe Patient Handling law requiring the purchase of safe patient handling equipment and training programs was passed in Washington State in 2006.  As a result of the implementation of this law, a January 2011 study found that neck, back, and shoulder injuries to hospital workers caused by manual patient handling  decreased by more than one third.

While some of our employers urged the Governor to veto this important bill, we prevailed. The law took effect in October 2014.

See this Cal/OSHA Fact Sheet to learn more.