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Woodwinds receives state safe-patient-handling grant

Woodwinds Health Campus in Woodbury has received a grant of nearly $7,700 from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) Workplace Safety Consultation unit to help purchase equipment that will allow employees to safely handle physically challenged patients while lifting or moving them.

The grant will help the organization comply with new state patient-handling regulations taking effect July 1, making such situations safer for both patient and employee.

Woodwinds was one of 67 health care facilities statewide that were named as a grant recipient. The grant provides assistance with the purchase of safe patient-handling equipment, training about safe patient-handling and training about the use of safe patient-handling equipment.

"Without a doubt, Minnesota's care providers take good care of our loved ones who are in great physical need," said Steve Sviggum, DLI commissioner. "Our department's research shows health-care-based careers experience a fairly high portion of our state's workers' compensation injuries and claims. So, this grant is intended to help care providers with the needed training and specialized lift equipment to help keep them safe."

Last May, Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed the Safe Patient Handling Act which requires licensed health care facilities in Minnesota to adopt a written safe-patient-handling policy and establish a safe-patient-handling committee by July 1. The written policy must establish a plan to minimize manual lifting of patients by Jan. 1, 2011, through the use of patient-handling equipment. The law also provides $500,000 for the safe patient-handling grant program administered by DLI.

DLI's Workplace Safety Consultation unit, part of the Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MNOSHA), works with employers and employees to solve safety and health problems before they occur.

For more information about the safe-patient handling legislation or to view a list of all health care facilities that were named grant recipients, visit www.doli.state.mn.us/wsc.html.

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