Overhead lift systems reduce back injuries among burn care providers.


Extensive patient handling in burn care provides ample opportunities for staff injury. The objective of this retrospective study was to evaluate frequency of work-related back injury pre- and postinstallation of overhead lifting systems (OLS) in a burn intensive care unit. After receiving institutional review board approval, the Workers Compensation Fund of Utah released deidentified back injury claims filed from the authors' burn center between January 1, 2001 and December 31, 2012. Number of back injuries, cost to workers' compensation, and missed workdays were examined. Three distinct time periods were analyzed based on the timing of installation of OLS in the burn center. Forty-five workers were injured in the burn unit; most were female (76%) nurses (73%), with the majority having lower-back injury (71%). Thirty claims (67%) involved staff with a previous back injury. Median age was 32 years (interquartile range, 22-40) and median term of employment at the burn center before injury was 3.7 years (interquartile range, 1.6-7.7). During the intervention period, rate of staff injuries, number of missed workdays, and total number of paid claims decreased significantly. In the period since installation, only one claim has been filed, which is the lowest number of claims that any individual intensive care unit has reported in the facility. The burn unit installed five OLS at a cost of $7000 per unit. This retrospective review indicated that the installation of OLS on the burn unit was an effective tool for reducing staff injury and associated costs. Back injury was essentially eliminated when five OLS were installed.

DOI: 10.1097/BCR.0b013e3182a2a8b7

Cite this paper

@article{Anyan2013OverheadLS, title={Overhead lift systems reduce back injuries among burn care providers.}, author={Walter Anyan and Iris H Faraklas and Stephen E Morris and Amalia L Cochran}, journal={Journal of burn care & research : official publication of the American Burn Association}, year={2013}, volume={34 6}, pages={586-90} }