Clinical TopicsPatient SafetyUncategorizedWorkplace Management

ANA participates in International Panel on Safe Patient Handling


Recognized as a champion of safe patient handling on a national level, the American Nurses Association (ANA) contributed expertise to support nurses and other health care workers globally with a seat on an International Panel on Safe Patient Handling, hosted at Loughborough University Design School, UK, in September.

Ten leading patient handling experts from seven countries specializing in fields as diverse as nursing, ergonomics, biomechanics, and physiotherapy convened to develop an international strategy for decreasing the risk of injury for caregivers when mobilizing patients, without compromising efficiency or continued quality of care.

“This was a wonderful synergy of international disciplines dedicated to leverage what has already been done in this field,” said Suzy Harrington, DNP, RN, MCHES, director of the Center of Health, Safety, and Wellness at the American Nurses Association. “It gives us the opportunity to propel each country to a new level of quality of care around safe patient handling.”

To establish a safe environment for nurses and patients, ANA supports actions and policies that result in the elimination of manual patient handling.

Healthcare professionals face some of the greatest risks of musculoskeletal injuries, and both the human and economic costs of these injuries can be considerable. Understanding all of the issues in creating a safe patient handling environment is essential for all those involved, according to the panel.

Many of the meeting attendees participated in developing an ISO Technical Report entitled, “Ergonomics — Manual handling of people in the healthcare sector,” (ISO/TR 12296: 2012), which was recently published. The report provides a comprehensive assessment of risk, work organization, equipment, buildings/environments and caregiver education, as well as evaluates the effectiveness of interventions in manual handling in relation to these factors. A main goal of the meeting was to form a communications plan for broadcasting the key points from the ISO Technical Report to a wider audience.

“We were delighted to help facilitate this meeting of global thought leaders, whose objective is to advance the important cause of safe patient handling,” said Alastair McLeod, director of global clinical services at ArjoHuntleigh. “The group has achieved a lot with the publication of the ISO Technical Report, and we look forward to seeing further safe patient handling initiatives which will benefit patients, care workers, facility managers and payers.”

The international panel was led by Dr. Mike Fray, Loughborough University, UK; and Dr. Sue Hignett, Loughborough University. Participants were Hanneke JJ Knibbe, LOCOmotion Research, Netherlands; Diana Robla, Galician Ergonomics Association, Spain; Mary Matz, Department of Veterans Affairs, USA; Leena Tamminen-Peter, Ergosolutions BC, Finland; Jean-Pierre Zana, INRS Paris-France; Suzy Harrington, American Nurses Association, USA; Dr. Mattias Jäger, Leibniz Research Centre, Dortmund University of Technology, Germany; Elly Waaijer, ArjoHuntleigh, Netherlands; and Kristina Hallström, ArjoHuntleigh, Sweden.

The meeting was supported by an unrestricted educational grant from ArjoHuntleigh.

For a free summary of the ISO Technical Report, download

For a full ISO Technical Report 12296: 2012, download

For more information about ANA’s efforts on safe patient handling, visit

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