Think HBR

Small Animal Specialist Hospital helped with manual handling

Actevate and the Small Animal Specialist Hospital (SASH) joined forces recently when manual handling issues emerged with their staff. Lauren Paul, Clinical Nurse Educator, noticed that some staff were becoming complacent with safe handling at work; and with significant growth in staff at SASH, wanted to make sure all the new staff got off to a safe start. Lauren says, “Staff were taking shortcuts without understanding the consequences of what poor manual handling could have on their body”.
Lauren noticed increasing manual handling incidents emerging and needed to do something – and fast. Actevate’s physiotherapist, Jennifer Dodge, went in to lend a hand and worked closely with Lauren to develop a training package that was going to make a real difference and not just pay lip service to her experienced nursing team. Jennifer says that “this training needed to be specific to the nurses’ tasks or it was going to fail”. The approach Actevate took was to develop a deep understanding of what staff did and taking photos and performing a task analysis meant that Actevate's training was tailored and highly relevant. The staff found the training highly beneficial and thought-provoking by challenging poor techniques.
Lauren says, “I think having someone external come in like a physiotherapist from Actevate, gave the training more gravitas.” Training was performed during three sessions with 10-15 people in each group. Photos of actual tasks were used which Jennifer says “encouraged interaction. The teams were really receptive and highly engaged during training”.
Lauren acknowledges that the training has had an impact with staff reporting positive behaviour change. Only one manual handling incident has been reported since and that was from someone who didn’t participate in training! The next step for SASH is to expand the sessions to include administration staff and the vets.
Generic training is ‘Google-able’ and there is always a place for it when staff just need a quick refresher. Training that really makes a difference should be specific to the people who are participating so that they can relate to the positive change in behaviour we are often trying to achieve with injury prevention education in our workplaces