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Incorporating Ergonomically Friendly Solutions in Healthcare

Healthcare is a Hazardous Working Environment

Did you know that hospitals are one of the most hazardous places to work? United States hospitals recorded over 221,000 work related injuries and illnesses in 2019, at nearly double the injury rate of a private industry.

That’s more than 220,00 lives that were impacted and people that didn’t return home from work the same way they left home. Injuries in healthcare can happen to any staff member working in the field. Environmental services, dietary, direct patient care and even indirect patient care. Many things happen over time, like overexertion and repetitive motion can be the primary causes of these injuries. Let’s take a look at how ergonomics are relevant to the world of medical device preparation for CSSD.

The Importance of Ergonomics

First and foremost, integrating ergonomics into the workplace is very important. According to the International Ergonomics Association (IEA), “ergonomics is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, in order to optimize human wellbeing and overall system performance.” Basically in healthcare, we know there are a variety of labor intensive roles, from patient positioning to shipping and receiving. Let’s take a look into inside the sterile processing department, where medical preparers are handling heavy equipment and devices on a daily basis. Staff members are required to lift, push, pull and bend in all different capacities during normal operations, completing their daily duties. The more training, attention and advocacy we dedicate to creating safer work environments, the better our teams will function.

The Top 10 proven benefits of ergonomics include:


  • Protection of employees
  • Increased morale of the team
  • Increased levels of productivity and efficiency
  • Improved quality of work, products, or services provided to the team
  • Improved comfort and usability, reduced human error
  • Reduced musculoskeletal disorders
  • Reduced workers compensation costs
  • Reduced employee training, retraining and turnover
  • Reduced equipment costs
  • Inspectors and insurers expectations

Solutions to Incorporate

Reprocessing equipment comes in a variety of sizes and shapes, it can be large, heavy and labor intensive to operate or repair. It is important for all healthcare departments to find  ways to incorporate safe, workable solutions, and customized options to create a safer working environment especially in a CSSD. Some of options to consider include;  

Safer solutions to implement in your CSSD include:


  • Adjustable reprocessing sinks, that can help staff to reach into the basins easily and process different sized items
  • Work stations at preparation area that accommodate different heights, widths and surface areas to reach
  • Safe Lighting in the decontamination area that allows for visibility, preventing staff from leaning over too far, and prevents continuous squinting efforts
  • Eye protection that is glare free, and aids in clear visibility
  • Foot protection that is skid proof, slide proof and available in all sizes for the team
  • Keyboards at work stations that are adjustable and don’t cause wrist over exertion
  • Foot rests, and stools available for reaching, proper foot placement during times of seating and step ladders for high to reach places
  • Push carts and handles with grips on push carts to help move larger items around the department
  • Anti-Fatigue mats in areas where long standing is expected
  • Times set aside for stretching, proper movement aides, and education for the team on how to safely move around the department
  • Case carts that have heat resistant handles, and grips available for retrieving carts appropriately
  • Standardized methods and work practices for loading, unloading and handling all heavy items transported on the elevators to and from the department
  • Ergonomically friendly chairs and lounge areas, dedicated to the support of proper posture
  • The use of dolly’s and pallet jacks for the delivery of heavy items and unpackaging of goods


For references to the information included in this blog post check out our White Paper completed by the NC State University, The Ergonomics Center, where the benefits of ergonomics was explored for our Belimed products.