CBA Article 39

ARTICLE 39 SAFE PATIENT HANDLING 

39.1 ESHB 1672 (2006) became effective on June 7, 2006. Since that time, Eastern and Western State Hospitals have implemented patient safe handling programs in accordance with the requirements of the bill. Eastern and Western State Hospitals will continue safe patient handling committees consistent with ESHB 1672. On an ongoing basis, the committees shall: 

1. Continue a safe patient handling policy for all shifts and units of the hospitals, and ensure that it is available on every unit; 

2. Continue to refine the processes to identify the appropriate use of the safe patient handling policy based on the patient’s physical and medical condition and the availability of lifting equipment or lift teams; and 

3. Conduct an annual performance evaluation of the program to determine its effectiveness, with the results of the evaluation reported to the local safety committees and made available on every unit. The evaluation shall determine the extent to which implementation of the program has resulted in a reduction in musculoskeletal disorder claims and days of lost work attributable to musculoskeletal disorder caused by patient handling, and include recommendations to increase the program’s effectiveness. 

39.2 At least half of the members of the safe patient handling committee shall be frontline non-managerial employees who provide direct care to patients unless doing so will adversely affect patient care. When an RN vacancy occurs, the Employer will notify the Union of the vacancy and request that the Union provide a nurse from a specific program area. In the event that the Union does not provide the Employer with a name within twenty-one (21) calendar days after notification, the Employer will notify the Union of its intent to fill the vacancy. 

39.3 By January 30, 2010, hospitals must complete acquisition of their choice of: (a) one readily available lift per acute care unit on the same floor, unless the safe patient handling committee determines a lift is unnecessary in the unit; (b) one lift for every ten (10) acute care available inpatient beds; or (c) equipment for use by lift teams. Hospitals must train staff on policies, equipment, and devices at least annually. 

39.4 Eastern and Western State Hospitals have developed procedures for nurses to refuse to perform or be involved in patient handling or movement that the nurse believes in good faith will expose a patient or a hospital employee to an unacceptable risk of injury. A nurse who in good faith follows the procedure shall not be the subject of disciplinary action by the hospital for the refusal to perform or be involved in the patient handling or movement.

© Paul Vilja 2017