ANF's No Lifting Policy wins outstanding OH&S Leadership Award

For immediate release: Friday, 22 June 2001

ANF's No Lifting Policy wins outstanding OH&S leadership award

The Australian Nursing Federation (Vic Branch) has won the Victorian WorkCover Authority Outstanding Leadership in Health and Safety Award for its three-year No Lifting campaign designed to prevent and reduce nurses' injuries when lifting or moving patients.

The award was announced last night at WorkCover's Health and Safety Awards 2001 Gala Dinner held at the Melbourne Park Function Centre and hosted by comedian Shaun Micallef.

ANF (Vic Branch) Secretary Belinda Morieson said: "The major cause of nurses' injuries is over-exertion and stress due to lifting patients. It was unacceptable that nurses suffered the highest injury rate in the female workforce and accounted for more than half of the health industry's workers compensation claims. The ANF listened to nurses, we funded research and we have transformed a deeply entrenched culture of injury acceptance in an area no one thought we could change."

ANF (Vic Branch) Occupational Health and Safety Officer Jeanette Sdrinis said: "Prior to the ANF campaign for all Victorian health facilities to adopt a No Lifting Policy nurses were expected to lift patients using outdated manual lifting techniques. Nurses were the hidden victims of preventable workplace injury - debilitating back pain, career ending injuries and daily chronic fatigue were considered just part of the job.

"We've turned around a culture that's been out there for more than 100 years. Employers are now accepting their responsibilities and nurses now say it is unacceptable to be injured at work and know back pain can be prevented."

"Three years after adopting No Lifting, health facilities and nurses are reporting a cultural change. The benefits are human and financial. We are seeing a significant reduction in the number and severity of patient and resident handling incidents and injuries and amount of time lost due to injury. In some cases workers compensation costs and insurance premiums have been reduced by more than half."

"Nurses have a better quality of life because they are less fatigued at the end of a shift. Morale is higher, there's less absenteeism, employers are using their no lifting policy as a successful nurse recruitment and retention tool and patient and resident care has been significantly improved."

ANF (Vic Branch) adopted the No Lifting Policy in 1998. It is based on the 1996 research and report "Buried But Not Dead: a survey of occupational illness and injury incurred by nurses in the Victorian health service industry" by Elizabeth Langford the ANF (Vic Branch) Injured Nurses' Support Group Co-ordinator.

The ANF's No Lifting Policy has been underpinned by a co-ordinated strategy to promote the policy, educate the industry and applying for government funding to assist implementation in public and private healthcare facilities.

For comment contact:

Ms Belinda Morieson
ANF (Vic Branch) Secretary
work: 9275 9333
Ms Jeanette Sdrinis
ANF Occupational Health & Safety Officer
Work: 9275 9333


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