New York’s ‘Safe Patient Handling Act’

In April 2014, New York passed the Safe Patient Handling Act. It gives Article 28 covered hospitals, nursing homes and diagnostic and treatment centers until January 2016 to establish a safe patient handling committee comprised of risk management, nursing, purchasing or occupational safety and health. The committee must have two co-chairs, one from management and one frontline worker.

By January 2017, each facility must establish a Safe Patient Handling Program that includes availability of safe patient handling equipment, a patient handling assessment, initial and annual training for all employees on safe patient handling, and an annual review of the program to determine its effectiveness. Furthermore, the program must include a safe patient handling policy, and a process to identify the effectiveness of the policy based on the patient’s physical and medical condition.

The Zero Lift Task Force is comprised of healthcare workers, administrators, patient advocates, union representatives (including NYSNA) and safety and health professionals working to ensure the health and safety of all patients and healthcare workers. It provides educational opportunities for managers and frontline healthcare workers on Safe Patient Handling principles and procedures. The next conference is scheduled for October 28-29 in Saratoga Springs. For more information, visit www.zeroliftforny.org.

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