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Am J Nurs. 2007 Aug;107(8):53-8; quiz 59.

When is it safe to manually lift a patient?

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  • 1Division of Applied Research and Technology at National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, OH, USA.


In 1994 the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released the Revised NIOSH Lifting Equation-an ergonomics assessment tool that can be used to calculate the recommended weight limit for two-handed manual-lifting tasks. However, NIOSH excluded assessment of patient-handling tasks from the uses of the revised equation, arguing that such tasks involve too many variables. The equation in fact can be used to calculate a recommended weight limit for a limited range of patient-handling tasks in which the patient is cooperative and unlikely to move suddenly during the task. In general, the revised equation yields a recommended 35-lb. maximum weight limit for use in patient-handling tasks. When weight to be lifted exceeds this limit, assistive devices should be used.

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