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Nation's RNs Hail Sen. Franken's Support for Safe Patient Handling Measure
Date:10/15/2009

UAN, Minnesota Nurses Point to Benefits for Patients, Nurse Staffing and Cost Savings

SILVER SPRING, Md., Oct. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new Senate bill introduced today by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) will not only protect the health and well-being of RNs in hospitals and other health care facilities, but also will ensure patients get the care they need, are transported and moved in the safest way possible, all while improving the bottom line for health care facilities by decreasing work injuries, said leaders of the United American Nurses, AFL-CIO and the Minnesota Nurses Association.

The Nurse and Health Care Worker Protection Act of 2009 (S. 1788) requires OSHA to develop and implement a standard to eliminate, to the greatest degree feasible based on technological and medical considerations, manual lifting of patients by direct-care registered nurses and other health care workers through the use of mechanical devices. The legislation also requires health care facilities to develop a plan to comply with the standard (with input from RNs), provides protection for RNs through refusal of assignment and whistleblower provisions and requires the Secretary of Labor to perform audits.

MNA and UAN nurses have worked closely with Sen. Franken to provide RN perspective on this critical bill and are optimistic about passage of the legislation and subsequent approval by President Obama. The bill is a companion measure to H.R. 2381, introduced this session into the House of Representatives by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.).

MNA Health and Safety Specialist, Bettye Shogren, RN, hailed Franken's initiative, saying: "In developing and successfully passing the Minnesota legislation we understood that we had the opportunity to do something which would significantly improve the health and safety of healthcare workers in this state, as well as make care safer and more accessible for the residents of Minnesota. N
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SOURCE United American Nurses, AFL-CIO
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