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Evaluation of a hidden occupational healthcare risk: the portable X-ray

Evaluation of a hidden occupational healthcare risk: the portable X-ray

Radiology Management 26(6): 44

In 2002, the services industry, of which healthcare is a part, led the US in nonfatal injuries by industry division with 27.3%. Health services--Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code 80--was the primary contributor, with more than 623,000 recordable cases. Hospitals (SIC code 806) led the total number of cases and incidence rates of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses for industries with more than 100,000 reported cases, with more than 321,000 cases and an incidence rate of 9.7. In particular, back injuries associated with patient care were identified as a leading injury associated with healthcare incidents. This study focuses on the portable radiograph (x-ray). The tasks required to place and position the cassette beneath the patient offer similar risk factors as a typical patient transfer. The study includes a literature review, process mapping, staff involvement, and a technical evaluation of options to consider that may reduce the exposure. The 3 techniques that registered the highest in the force to place the cassette were the pillowcase around the cassette, the plastic slider sheet around the cassette, and the "typical" placement, respectively. The techniques that used additional staff to roll or lift the patient registered the lowest amount of force for the cassette placement. Initial analysis of this data reveals that there is the potential for risk to staff members'shoulders and upper torsos when performing portable chest x-ray procedures. The study revealed that further research into safer techniques and devices is warranted, as incidents have been reported, yet no associated published research was identified to offer advice on the topic of portable x-ray ergonomics.

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Accession: 048993455

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PMID: 15633510

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