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Governor Gregoire Signs Patient Safety Bill

For Immediate Release: March 22, 2006

Mechanical lifts will reduce injuries among patients and nurses

OLYMPIA – Governor Chris Gregoire today at Swedish Medical Center signed into law House Bill 1672, a bill that will reduce injuries in health care by requiring hospitals to establish safe patient handling committees.

“Injuries from the manual lifting of patients are the number one health care worker injury. Mechanical lifts will not only protect our nurses but also increase the safety of the patient,” said Governor Gregoire.

This new law defines "safe patient handling" as the use of engineering controls, lifting and transfer aids or assistive devices, by lift teams or other staff, instead of manual lifting to perform the acts of lifting, transferring, and repositioning health care patients and residents.

The bill requires that by February 1, 2007, hospitals, including state hospitals, must establish a Safe Patient Handling Committee or assign the safe patient handling duties to an existing hospital committee.

For information on all bill action, please visit Governor Gregoire's website or the Washington Legislature website.