Sept. 2, 2004
Paul Schwartz (510) 987-9924, cell (510) 387-5434


Below is a statement from the University of California regarding AB2532, a bill sponsored by the California Nurses Association concerning patient lifting and employee safety.

UC hospitals and medical centers are consistently rated among the best in the nation due, in part, to the very high value UC places on the well-being and safety of its patients and employees.

Moving patients is a daily occurrence in hospitals and it can sometimes lead to injuries. In order to minimize manual lifting and reduce the risk of injury, UC employs a variety of methods, including alternatives to the traditional “lift team” approach and state-of-the-art technologies such as air mattress transfer systems, overhead assist devices, hydraulic chairs, and other technologies.

If enacted, AB 2532 would establish in law a "zero lift" policy that would require hospitals to replace all individual manual lifting with lifting devices and lift teams.

Given that there may be an occasional need to manually lift and transfer a critically ill or injured patient, UC opposes the bill because a zero lift policy in law sets an unrealistic and unattainable standard that could place patients at risk or delay care. UC cannot in good conscience support a bill that could put our patients at risk by requiring that individual employees never lift a patient.

Alternatively, UC has suggested to the union and to lawmakers that the legislation advocate a “minimal lift” policy, which would minimize manual lifting by emphasizing the use of mechanical lift devices and other approaches, but would allow for occasional manual lifting in the interest of patient safety. The CNA rejected this idea.

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