Applications for a collaborative grant supporting radiologic technologist safety are now open, according to the ASRT Foundation and Toshiba Medical. Each year, the Safety FiRsT program awards two grants up to $7,000 since its inception in 2015.
Previous winners have used the grants make purchases such as an overhead lift, non-metal wheelchairs, transfer boards and other devices to improve the safety of technologists.
According to the Veterans Health Administration, 42 percent of technologists have suffered a work-related injury. The most common injuries are lower back pain and injuries from lifting patients—not an easy task in the U.S., where over one-third of the adult population is obese. Repetitive stress injuries in the hands or shoulders are also commonplace, but can be mitigated through ergonomic imaging equipment, according to a 2010 study published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.
While radiation safety is a concern, it’s not necessarily a primary issue, according to a 2004 study published in Radiology.
“To date, there is no clear evidence of an increased cancer risk in medical radiation workers exposed to current levels of radiation doses,” wrote lead author and researcher at the National Institute of Radiological Sciences Shinji Yoshinaga, PhD. “However, given a relatively short period of time for which the most recent workers have been followed up and in view of the increasing uses of radiation in modern medical practices, it is important to continue to monitor the health status of medical radiation workers.”
Last year's winners were Hartford Hospital of Hartford, Connecticut, and Boca Raton Regional Hospital in Florida.
“The Safety FiRsT program grants help facilities to ensure the safety of their technologists and meet their business needs simultaneously,” said ASRT Foundation Chairman of the Board Georgia Hitzke. “Assistance that helps purchase new equipment for technologists, creates new programs or implements other inventive ideas to improve safety allows the facilities to focus on providing the highest quality care.”
Interested organizations can apply for the grant at the ASRT Foundation webpage.