4 hints to lift patients Lifting more than 51 pounds in the floor often leads to injuries, and train

Apr 10, 2015

By Bryan Fass

One of the benefits of teaching more than 500 classes per year is I get to view lots of patterns in Fire and EMS -saving; patterns of how responders go, lift, pull, take, transfer and simply walk. I also get to listen to lots of stories about very few ever get back to normal after an injury and how responders got damage.

My aha instant one day was simply this: "EMS is in the moving company; we're movers!"

EMS is in the company that is moving

(Picture Bryan Fass)


The way to use stretchers and cots to their full potential

2 EMS lifting ways to reduce injuries

4 steps to stay injury free


Every facet of our occupation is not mental, all of our tools are heavy and individuals that are moving is a crucial occupation task. Yet we spend little to no time training the best way to transfer things safely.

A question I ask in all my courses is "When was the most recent time you had a comprehensive patient and equipment managing type?" What I get back are blank stares and eventually a few folks grumbling, 'never.' We spend most if not all of our training time on clinical excellence and operations and never spend time training to do the most critical occupation task, transferring patients.

Since we're medical movers, sections should do a much better job teaching providers why they get hurt and the way to prevent it. The very first thing we must examine is what the loads we raise do to our body.

How much weight is safe to lift?

NIOSH has a raise equation and it tells us one thing, while complicated: The weight limitation for a person is 51 pounds. Deciding an object off the ground of this weight will set around 764 to 800 pounds of compressive load on the back. It's if this may seem like a lot. We know that at approximately 800 pounds, the backbone of an untrained person (someone who does not work out, is dehydrated, fatigued, or eats badly) will start to be injured. When was the last time you picked on a 51-pound patient off the ground? Many providers carry a compressive load of over 2000 pounds every day; multiple times per shift. [ 1,2, 3]

FEMA states in their emergency medical services handbook that EMS should limit lifts below the knees. These raises create a few of the highest spinal loads we find in providers. If we step out of the EMS box to get a second we can take a look at ' professions going and make the connection that we are among the only professions that permit its workers to frequently lift loads that are extreme from below the knees on a frequent basis. So when what we perceive to be small loads truly exceed what our body is able to handle, it leads to suppliers becoming quite proficient at the dangerous movement of lifting from below the knees. [4]

Let's take it a step farther and look at lateral transports. Pulling on a 105- between 832 to 1,708 pounds of compressive force, while is applied by pound patient via bedsheet between two beds carrying the same patient down a set of stairs compresses the spinal column . pounds with 1,012 to 1,281 [1,2] Again we consistently exceed the ability loads placed upon external the or dampen

4 tips for safer lifting

(Picture Bryan Fass)

1. Discontinue lifting from the floor

As we teach all our students, "use a tool, usually do not become the tool." Most systems already have the tools on the trucks that may transform the lift height. Use your MegaMover(TMark), Reeves(TMark), or Titan(TMark) to shift the lift height from the floor to nearly knee height, where we are much more powerful and have a better back angle.

2. Lateral transfers are handled for by use

If you follow step one above, then the friction reducing device has already been under the individual. Simply slide them around to the hospital bed by means of a tool that reduces friction and has handles. The handles mean that on the pull, responders do not need to lean over so far to start the transfer.

3. Work jointly

If and when there are trained staff on scene, everyone is about the lift. As a culture EMS and Fire -saving need to understand that when one person cans damage, then it just makes sense that the 350-pound patient demands all hands working together. This goes for your cots that are powered as well; place two individuals on the foot of the cot for loading into the truck.

4. Slow down

Certainly one of the best sayings in EMS is "it is not my emergency." Just slowing down will let you along with think forward to ensure the lift or move is safe for you as well as the patient, use tools correctly and your partner andcrew to get in better lifting locations.

"Your fitness will save your life one day ... and every day" is my motto for all of public safety. This can be job that is 100 percent physical plus among the only items that'll save your life on scene as well as in life is your physical ability.


1. A structural equation modelling approach to predicting adoption of a patient-managing intervention developed for EMS suppliers. Ergonomics 2013 24;56(11):1698-707. Epub 2013 Sep 24. Monica R Weiler, Steven A Lavender, J Mac Crawford, Paul A Reichelt, Karen M Conrad, Michael W Browne

2. Oregon OSHA. Firefighter and http://green-blog.org/blogs/blog/713-patient-lifts-check-your-patient%E2%80%99s-condition/ , www.cbs.state.or.us/osha/grants/ff_ergo/index.html.

3. McGill, S. Low Back Disaorders. 2007, Human Kinetics. P. 218-222.

4. FIRE AND EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES ERGONOMICS, A Guide for Understanding and Implementing, An Ergonomics Program in Your Department U. S. Fire Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency 16825 South Seton Avenue, Emmitsburg, MD 21727