Ergonomics Program

Campus Address
120 USB
Mailing Address

120 University Services Building
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States

Safe patient handling interventions can significantly reduce overexertion injuries by replacing manual patient handling with safer methods guided by the principles of ergonomics.  

Ergonomics refers to the design of work tasks to best suit the capabilities of workers. In the case of patient handling, it involves using mechanical equipment and safety procedures to lift and move patients so that health care workers can avoid using manual exertions and thereby reduce their risk of injury.  At the same time, patient handling ergonomics seeks to maximize the safety and comfort of patients during handling. (Source: National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health)

Facts about Moving Patients

  • Relying on proper body mechanics or manual lifting techniques alone will not reduce caregiver injuries.
  • It can take longer to round up a team of colleagues to manually lift a patient than to find and use lifting equipment.
  • Most injuries in hospital settings are cumulative in nature, so any steps taken to minimize the potential for injury during patient handling tasks benefits caregivers.
  • Utilization of ergonomic equipment is for all patients that depend on the assistance of caregivers to move

Dynamic Work Warm-Up

This quick set of exercises can help health care workers and others prepare for their shifts.

Reversal of Posture Exercises

  • Increase your ability to perform everyday tasks at work and home.
  • Decrease your risk of musculoskeletal and cumulative trauma disorders.
  • Decrease joint wear and tear, and reduce osteoarthritis joint stiffness and pain.
  • Reduce muscle fatigue and soreness.
  • Increase blood supply and nutrients to your muscles, tendons, and joints.
  • Reduce stress.

For worker’s compensation or disability accommodation, the Ergonomics Program will work with the individual employee, worker’s compensation, and/or Faculty and Staff Disability Services as appropriate.