SAIF Study Reports 35% Drop in Claims in Initial Year of Safe Patient Handling Program

July 29, 2004

SAIF Corporation, Oregon’s not-for-profit workers’ compensation insurance company, has released a study that reports a 35 percent reduction in healthcare industry claims in the first year of its Safe Patient Handling Program.

The study, conducted in partnership with 18 Oregon healthcare facilities and SAIF policyholders, was presented at the national 2004 Healthcare Ergonomics Conference in Portland this week.

Patient lifting is reportedly the leading cause of workplace injuries for healthcare professionals nationwide, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In Oregon, musculoskeletal injuries account for approximately 36 percent of workers’ comp claims from healthcare professionals, according to SAIF’s data.

Eighteen healthcare facilities statewide participated in a new Safe Patient Handling Program launched by SAIF in 2001 to improve workplace safety at healthcare facilities. The results from the first year of the program show a 71 percent reduction in accepted claims from patient lifting and handling and a 93 percent reduction in lost work days.

“SAIF’s research makes the economic case for less patient lifting and increased workplace safety for healthcare professionals,” Chuck Easterly, loss control manager with SAIF Corp., said. “Our Safe Patient Handling Program dramatically reduced the number of claims, thereby reducing the costs to employers and increasing the overall safety of both health care workers and patients.”

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