Back School of Atlanta

The Back School of Atlanta
Educating the Best in Ergonomics Since 1979


Welcome to Ergonomics News from the Back School of Atlanta, designed to help health and safety professionals find the latest information on ergonomics related challenges - from office, healthcare, and industry.

As always, if we can assist you with your ergonomics issues, please contact us at:, 800-783-7536 or visit our website:

I hope you have a safe and healthy Spring.

Ron Porter
Director, Back School of Atlanta
800-783-7536 or 404-355-7756

In This Issue

Texas and Washington Mandate Safe Patient Handling Laws, Rhode Island Introduces Legislation
Reduce Disability Claims by 50% with Supervisor Training
OSHA's New FREE Printing Industry Ergo e-Tool
OSHA Notifies 14,000 Employers With High Injury & Illness Rates
Back School of Atlanta adds 3 NEW Workshops in 2006 -
  1. Level II - Enhanced Ergonomics Evaluation Skills Certification Workshop
  2. Level I - Sales & Marketing of Ergonomics Services
  3. Level I - Personalizing Patient Safety Certification Workshop

Texas and Washington Pass Safe Patient Handling Laws, Rhode Island Introduces Legislation
Texas was the first state to pass legislation requiring hospitals and nursing homes to implement safe patient handling and movement policies - a measure that promises to improve the safety from physical injuries of both nurses and patients. It was a major 2005 legislative effort of Texas Nurses Association in partnership with hospitals and nursing homes.

Texas SB 1525 which was signed into law in June 2005, took effect January 1, 2006. The legislation requires hospitals and nursing homes to adopt policies and procedures for the safe handling of patients that "control the risk of injury to patients and nurses associated with the lifting, transferring, repositioning, or movement of a patient." It discourages but does not prohibit manual moving and lifting of patients.

Washington's Safe Patient Handling law, is the first legislation to require hospitals to provide mechanical lift equipment for the safe lifting and movement of patients. House Bill 1672 was signed into law by Washington State Govenor Christine Gregoire (D) on March 8, 2006.

On a timeline between February 1, 2007 and January 30, 2010, Washington hospitals must take measures including implementation of a safe patient handling policy and acquisition of their choice of either one readily available lift per acute care unit, one lift for every ten acute care inpatient beds or lift equipment for use by specially trained lift teams.

Hospitals will be assisted financially with implementation of safe patient handling programs by reduced workers' compensation premiums and tax credits covering the cost of purchasing mechanical lifting or other patient handling devices.

Learn more from Work Injured Nurses' Group USA:

Rhode Island introduced "An Act Relating to Health and Safety - Safe Patient Handling Legislation" in February 2006. If passed into law, the legislation will require that "...each licensed health care facility shall... Implement a safe patient handling policy for all shifts and units of the facility that will achieve elimination of manual lifting, transferring, and repositioning of all or most of a patient's weight, except in emergency, life threatening, or otherwise exceptional circumstances..."

Learn more about this bill:

Reduce Disability Claims by 50% with Supervisor Training
Companies that improve the way supervisors respond to employees' work-related health and safety concerns can produce significant and sustainable reductions in future injury claims and disability costs, according to a new study from the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety.

Supervisors trained to properly respond, communicate and problem solve with employees reduced new disability claims by 47 percent and active lost-time claims by 18 percent.

The supervisor-training program studied by the Research Institute provided education and training for both management and supervisors to help them respond better to worker injuries. The program also included suggestions for employee communication and problem solving skills to help get injured employees back to work. The results were dramatic.

"In this study, we saw a substantial reduction in injury claim frequency and disability. Supervisors clearly learned new skills and expressed confidence that they could better deal with these issues," said William Shaw, Ph.D., lead investigation researcher at the Liberty Mutual Research Institute. "Employers in industries with highly physical work demands can use this program to improve communication between supervisors and workers on work-related health issues. It's an effective disability prevention strategy."

For more information:

OSHA's New Free Printing Industry Ergo e-Tool
America's printing industry has a new resource to help keep workers safe on the job -- Ergonomics in the Printing Industry eTool - The new eTool is a direct result of the agency's Alliance with the Graphic Arts Coalition.

"This is an important new resource to help educate workers and employers on avoiding ergonomic-related injuries in the printing industry," said Jonathan L. Snare, Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA. "It's designed to provide practical information that is based on the experience of others on how workers can make simple ergonomic improvements to avoid hazards on the job."

The eTool focuses on workers involved in printing processes who may be at risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) from workplace activities which may require them to work outside their physical capacities (e.g., lifting heavy items or lifting too often, or working in awkward body postures).

The first module of the eTool addresses the lithographic printing process. While there are significant variations in the process, the new tool simplifies the overall operation into three broad categories: prepress, press, and finishing and burdening. Users can access specific printing tasks, such as plate making and hand collating, for a description of each task and the potential hazards that have been identified for that job. The user can navigate within each task to become familiar with the hazards and to learn what others have identified as possible solutions.

The Graphic Arts Coalition includes the Printing Industries of America/Graphic Arts Technical Foundation, Specialty Graphic Imaging Association, Flexographic Technical Association, and the Gravure Association of America.

Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit

OSHA Notifies 14,000 Employers With High Injury & Illness Rates
OSHA notified approximately 14,000 employers last month that injury and illness rates at their worksites are higher than average and that assistance is available to help them make needed changes. In a letter sent to each, OSHA characterized the notification as a proactive step to encourage employers to take steps to reduce those rates.

The establishments were identified by OSHA through employer-reported data from a 2005 survey, based on 2004 data, of 80,000 worksites. Those selected had a rate of 6.0 or more injuries or illnesses resulting in days away from work, restricted work activity, or job transfer for every 100 full-time workers. The national average for the so-called DART rate is 2.5.

Employers that received the letter were also provided copies of their injury and illness data and a list of the most frequently violated OSHA standards for their industry. As well, the letter offered the agency's assistance. Among other steps, it suggested the use of free safety and health consultation services provided by OSHA through the states.

The full list can be downloaded from

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