Investing in Transfer Equipment Pays Dividends for Social Service Customer

Transferring and handling clients safely is always a top concern for any social service organization faced with those responsibilities. Client handling also poses risks for employees as well. At Starkey Inc., the oldest community-based nonprofit in Sedgwick County, Kan., which serves more than 500 people with intellectual disabilities in a variety of settings, Safety Coordinator Debra Butterfield contacted her UH loss control representative about dealing with client handling tasks at their local home settings, which can often be a source of injuries as well as slips and falls. Our UH loss control representative provided information about the Rifton TRAM, a transfer and mobility device that can help to ambulate clients, assist with gait training, sit-to-stand transfers and seated transfers.

Butterfield reviewed the equipment and invited a local vendor, NuMotion, to demonstrate it to Starkey’s internal staff. The vendor not only provided a demonstration, but allowed Starkey to keep the lift for an extended period for testing with their client base. After review, the organization purchased four devices and recently bought a fifth lift to help ensure the safety of their clients and their workers because they understand that type of investment pays dividends down the road. While the cost of such equipment may seem significant up front, when you consider the National Safety Council (NSC) estimates the average cost for a slip and fall injury is $28,000, after factoring in medical bills, physical therapy and missed wages, such a purchase can be easily justified as a sound investment.

Those working in the social services fields can face a range of exposures that could lead to a slip, trip or fall. A child care teacher could slip on a spilled drink in a classroom. A home health aide could fall trying to assist a client down steps. A personal care aide could slip on a wet spot while assisting a client in the shower. In fact, slips, trips and falls were the second most common cause of lost-time injuries in the social service and health care industries in 2014 and had a rate of 26.8 incidents per 10,000 employees..

This is why United Heartland’s fourth phase of the Social Service Loss Control Campaign examines slip, trip and fall exposures. Downloadable resources addressing issues such as floor maintenance, reducing slip, trip and fall injuries, and slip and fall prevention tips for social service and health care organizations are also available. And don’t forget to check out our WalkSafe campaign as the winter season arrives.

If you know of others involved in the social service or nonprofit industry who may be interested in our campaign, please consider forwarding this email to them or encourage them to subscribe to our free Risk Connection e-newsletters. As always, please contact your loss control representative with questions or if you’re not a United Heartland policyholder, find an agent near you or call us at 1-800-258-2667.