From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Ergonomics- Nursing Patients and Laundry

Task Prior to Abatement (Description)

An ergonomic case study for workers dealing with nursing patients and laundry.  Workers were manually lifting and moving patients and doing laundry.

Task Prior to Abatement (Method Which Identified Hazard)

Increasing incidence of back injuries.

Increasing loss-time hours.

Ergonomic Risk Factor (Force)

High force was required to perform the tasks.

Ergonomic Risk Factor (Posture)

Awkward postures were involved while performing the tasks.

Ergonomic Solution (Administrative Controls)

  1. Education and training were provided .
  2. Taking breaks was encouraged.
  3. A regular maintenance program for equipment was initiated.

Ergonomic Solution (Engineering Controls)

Hand tools were modified.
New lifting equipment was provided.

  1. Worker-assist devices were provided.
  2. Handles were added onto tool carts.
  3. Supplies on shelves were reorganized.
  4. X-Ray cassettes were reorganized to avoid repetitive bending and back problems.

Ergonomic Solution (Benefits)

  • All workers that perform the tasks now have reduced exposure to back injuries.
  • Reduction in workers’ compensation costs (The measures saved about $ 1.8 million US in five years).
  • $ 143,000 grant received by hospital for an ergonomics study.

Ergonomic Solution (Method Which Verified Effectiveness)

  • Back injury rates fell 23 percent.
  • Loss-time hours fell 43 percent.


Workers were willing to enforce measures to ensure their personal well-being.