LeadingAge Minnesota Supports Proposed Rule on Mechanical Lifts

LeadingAge Minnesota filed comments last week with the United States Department of Labor (DOL) to voice our support for a proposal that would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to operate power-driven patient lifts independently. 

DOL established a policy in 2010 that prohibited 16- and 17-year-old youth from operating power-driven patient lifts. The Department subsequently issued a non-enforcement policy that applies when trained 16- and 17-year-olds, under specified conditions, assist a trained adult in the operation of patient lifts. The nonenforcement policy, however, does not permit these youth to operate patient lifts independently. 

In its proposed rule, DOL acknowledges concerns that this continued prohibition “adversely affects the ability of youth to receive employment and training opportunities in health care professions, encourages youth who work in health care to engage in unsafe manual lifting, and hampers health care providers' ability to promptly and safely assist patients,” and states that the Department’s proposed rule will “enhance employment, training, and apprenticeship opportunities for 16- and 17-year-olds in health care occupations in the United States while maintaining worker safety.” 

LeadingAge Minnesota members have long advocated for DOL to change its policy on this issue, and we are hopeful that our comments, along with comments from LeadingAge national and other stakeholders around the country, will encourage the Department to finalize its proposed rule.

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