The ISCRR Evidence Review Hub has released a review assessing the link between Occupation Health and Safety (OHS) interventions for hospital staff and the health and safety outcomes experienced by hospital patients.

Healthcare workers experience some of the highest rates of nonfatal occupational illness and injury. In particular, musculoskeletal disorders associated with patient handling are a common work-related injury for this group. 

Although interventions and programs targeting these disorders are known to result in fewer and less severe injuries to hospital staff, there has been much less research into the impact that these interventions have on patients - and yet patient outcomes are the primary focus of hospital management boards.

This review aimed to answer that question by assessing the state of current evidence on the topic, as part of ISCRR's Evidence Review program.

The researchers did find evidence of a link between patient outcomes and interventions targeted at musculoskeletal disorders among hospital staff (particularly in terms of patient comfort and mobility). 

However, the review also indicates that there is a significant knowledge gap in this area. Studies in this area are limited, and most have been undertaken in long-term care or rehabilitation settings which are not relevant to a hospital context. 

The researchers have recommended a broader review of the topic, including grey literature and other unpublished sources. These would provide more information to support policy decisions and develop communication tools related to this issue. 

Read the full report.

Read more about occupational safety in a hospital setting

Read more about return on prevention for OHS interventions.