§23-17-59  Safe patient handling. –

Published: 2015

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Health and Safety


Licensing of Health Care Facilities

SECTION 23-17-59

   § 23-17-59  Safe patient handling. –

(a) Definitions. As used in this chapter:

   (1) "Safe patient handling" means the use of engineering

controls, transfer aids, or assistive devices whenever feasible and appropriate

instead of manual lifting to perform the acts of lifting, transferring, and/or

repositioning health care patients and residents.

   (2) "Safe patient handling policy" means protocols

established to implement safe patient handling.

   (3) "Health care facility" means a hospital or a nursing


   (4) "Lift team" means health care facility employees

specially trained to perform patient lifts, transfers, and repositioning in

accordance with safe patient handling policy.

   (5) "Musculoskeletal disorders" means conditions that involve

the nerves, tendons, muscles, and supporting structures of the body.

   (b) Licensure requirements. Each licensed health care

facility shall comply with the following as a condition of licensure:

   (1) Each licensed health care facility shall establish a safe

patient handling committee, which shall be chaired by a professional nurse or

other appropriate licensed health care professional. A health care facility may

utilize any appropriately configured committee to perform the responsibilities

of this section. At least half of the members of the committee shall be hourly,

non-managerial employees who provide direct patient care.

   (2) By July 1, 2007, each licensed health care facility shall

develop a written safe patient handling program, with input from the safe

patient handling committee, to prevent musculoskeletal disorders among health

care workers and injuries to patients. As part of this program, each licensed

health care facility shall:

   (i) By July 1, 2008, implement a safe patient handling policy

for all shifts and units of the facility that will achieve the maximum

reasonable reduction of manual lifting, transferring, and repositioning of all

or most of a patient's weight, except in emergency, life-threatening, or

otherwise exceptional circumstances;

   (ii) Conduct a patient handling hazard assessment. This

assessment should consider such variables as patient-handling tasks, types of

nursing units, patient populations, and the physical environment of patient

care areas;

   (iii) Develop a process to identify the appropriate use of

the safe patient handling policy based on the patient's physical and mental

condition, the patient's choice, and the availability of lifting equipment or

lift teams. The policy shall include a means to address circumstances under

which it would be medically contraindicated to use lifting or transfer aids or

assistive devices for particular patients;

   (iv) Designate and train a registered nurse or other

appropriate licensed health care professional to serve as an expert resource,

and train all clinical staff on safe patient handling policies, equipment, and

devices before implementation, and at least annually or as changes are made to

the safe patient handling policies, equipment and/or devices being used;

   (v) Conduct an annual performance evaluation of the safe

patient handling with the results of the evaluation reported to the safe

patient handling committee or other appropriately designated committee. The

evaluation shall determine the extent to which implementation of the program

has resulted in a reduction in musculoskeletal disorder claims and days of lost

work attributable to musculoskeletal disorder caused by patient handling, and

include recommendations to increase the program's effectiveness; and

   (vi) Submit an annual report to the safe patient handling

committee of the facility, which shall be made available to the public upon

request, on activities related to the identification, assessment, development,

and evaluation of strategies to control risk of injury to patients, nurses and

other health care workers associated with the lifting, transferring,

repositioning, or movement of a patient.

   (3) Nothing in this section precludes lift team members from

performing other duties as assigned during their shift.

   (4) An employee may, in accordance with established facility

protocols, report to the committee, as soon as possible, after being required

to perform a patient handling activity that he/she believes in good faith

exposed the patient and/or employee to an unacceptable risk of injury. Such

employee reporting shall not be cause for discipline or be subject to other

adverse consequences by his/her employer. These reportable incidents shall be

included in the facility's annual performance evaluation.

History of Section.

(P.L. 2006, ch. 353, § 2; P.L. 2006, ch. 463, § 2; P.L. 2008, ch.

475, § 48.)

Related Laws

2015 7.1.13NMAC