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Table 3 Some of the factors implicated in back injury

The employer has the responsibility for providing in-service education on body mechanics, the means to avoid lifting wherever possible, and the reduction of risks where lifting is absolutely necessary. Uniforms and footwear should allow flexibility while also providing support, as much of staff time is spent standing. Air fluidized beds reduce the need for regular patient 'turning', slides such as the Patslide ® simplify patient transfer, and hoists are available. Such back-saving devices are supplied with guidelines for their proper use (often reinforced by local physiotherapy departments). Failure to comply with these instructions, such as their use by appropriate numbers of staff, may put both staff and patients at risk. Beds, chairs, and other furniture should all be adjustable such that work can be completed from a comfortable position.

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