Ergonomic evaluation of pharmacy tasks
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Ergonomic evaluation of pharmacy tasks

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    "The Health Hazard Evaluation Program received a request from a pharmacy concerned with musculoskeletal disorders associated with employees who repeatedly opened and closed child-resistant medication bottles. Up to 200 per week of undistributed prescriptions were returned to stock because patients did not pick them up in the designated period. To evaluate these concerns, we observed employees opening and closing child-resistant medication bottles; measured workstation heights and took pictures and videos of pharmacy tasks; asked employees about their work history, training, tool use, health information related to exposures, and health and safety concerns; and reviewed logs of work-related injuries and illnesses and some employee medical records. Pharmacy staff were exposed to work-related factors such as repetitive and forceful movements, awkward wrist and shoulder postures, and contact stress that put them at risk for musculoskeletal disorders. Many employees reported symptoms consistent with work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Adjustability features that were available for some equipment was not used. Repetitive motion injuries were the most common recordable injury among pharmacy department employees. To reduce musculoskeletal injury risk we recommended evaluating a way to reduce the number of return-to-stock bottles that need to be opened, removing child-resistant caps from larger quantity medication bottles, providing and using adjustable workstations, educating employees on injury prevention during pharmacy tasks, and communicating and reporting work-related health and safety concerns." - NIOSHTIC-2

    Recommended citation for this report: NIOSH [2018]. Ergonomic evaluation of pharmacy tasks. By Ramsey JG, Musolin K. Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Health Hazard Evaluation Report 2016-0042-3306,

    NIOSHTIC no. 20051202

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