Safe Patient Handling Act – a Huge Lift for Safety

Safe patient handling legislation will protect patients and workers from injuries related to lifting, and has the potential to save millions of dollars in Workers’ Compensation costs.

The legislation was enacted as one of the highlights of the state budget. It uses engineering controls, lifting and transfer aids, or assistive devices by staff to perform the acts of lifting, transferring and repositioning health care patients and residents. It has worked everywhere it has been implemented.

The legislation has greatly reduced worker and patient injuries while saving the nursing home Workers’ Compensation injury claim and insurance costs. 

The new Safe Handling Act covers all hospitals, nursing homes, diagnostic treatment centers and clinics licensed under Article 28 of the Public Health Law, and includes state operated group homes as well as health care units in prisons and OCFS facilities.

The law requires the state Commissioner of Health to create a statewide workgroup by January 1, 2015, and report findings by July 1, 2015.

By January 1, 2016, all covered facilities must establish a facility-based safe patient handling committee. One half of each committee’s membership must be front-line, non-managerial employees that provide direct care with at least one nurse and at least one non-nurse direct care provider.