By |Published On: January 7th, 2024|Categories: Clinician Information|

Safe Patient Handling Legislation

Musculoskeletal injuries continue as a major concern among healthcare professionals regarding Safe Patient Handling Legislation. The rates of injuries published by the Bureau of Labor are worth reviewing:

  • The overexertion injury rate for hospital workers is twice the average compared to all industries (76 per 10,000).
  • The overexertion injury rate for nursing home workers is three times greater than all industries (132 per 10,000).
  • The overexertion injury rate for ambulance workers is six times greater than all industries (238 per 10,000).
  • Rising obesity rates in the United States further increases the physical demands on caregivers.
  • Aging care givers in the workforce are less resilient to the physical demands of manually handling patient.
  • Manual patient handling is mostly performed by nurses and support staff such as nursing aides and orderlies.
  • The demands placed on nurses are increased by an ongoing nursing shortage, which is projected to reach 260,000 unfilled nursing positions by 2025.


As the more States, professional organizations, industry, and academia recognize that “safe patient handling” in health care settings is paramount in minimizing musculoskeletal injuries to care givers, more legislation is being enacted. The following states have passed or signed into law such safe patient handling legislation:




CaliforniaLabor Code Section 6403.5

October 7, 2011

IllinoisPublic Act 97-0122

July 30, 2011

New JerseyS-1758/A-3028

January 2008

MinnesotaHB 712.2

May 2007

MarylandSB 879

April 2007

Rhode IslandHouse 7386 and Senate 2760

July 7, 2006

HawaiiHouse Concurrent Resolution No. 16

April 24, 2006

WashingtonHouse Bill 1672

March 22, 2006

OhioHouse Bill 67, Section 4121.48

March 21, 2006

New Yorkcompanion bills A11484, A07836, S05116, & S08358

October 18, 2005

TexasSenate Bill 1525

June 17, 2005

Introduced in Senate S.1113 (03/30/2023) Nurse Staffing Standards for Patient Safety and Quality Care Act of 2023

This bill requires hospitals to implement and submit to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) a staffing plan that complies with specified minimum nurse-to-patient ratios by unit. Hospitals must post a notice regarding nurse-to-patient ratios in each unit and maintain records of actual ratios for each shift in each unit. The bill also requires hospitals to follow certain procedures regarding how ratios are determined, and other staff are prohibited from performing nurse functions unless specifically authorized within a state’s scope of practice rules.

HHS must adjust Medicare payments to hospitals to cover additional costs attributable to compliance with these ratios.

Nurses may object to, or refuse to participate in, an assignment if it would violate minimum ratios or if they are not prepared by education or experience to fulfill the assignment without compromising the safety of a patient or jeopardizing their nurse’s license. Hospitals may not (1) take adverse actions against a nurse based on the nurse’s reasonable refusal to accept an assignment; or (2) discriminate against individuals for good faith complaints relating to the care, services, or conditions of the hospital or related facilities. HHS may impose civil monetary penalties on hospitals violating the ratio requirements and must publish the names of such hospitals.

The bill provides stipends to the nurse workforce loan repayment and scholarship program and expands the nurse retention grant program to include nurse preceptorship and mentorship projects.

The ResQUp is an important safe patient handling tool for assisting non-injured individuals who have fallen and require mild-to-moderate assistance getting up from the floor. Even so, more safe patient handling tools are needed to protect care givers in all health care-related settings.

The ResQUp

ResQUp - A recovery device to help you get up from the floor in the case of a fall

Safari Brown

ResQUp - A recovery device to help you get up from the floor in the case of a fall