Sonographer Safety Initiative

The Sonographer Safety Initiative (SSI) is a collaborative project with SA Health, FBE Pty. Ltd. and GE Healthcare Australia participating to look for solutions to Musculo-Skeletal Disorders (MSDs) that arise in sonographers.

The SSI established that between 80% and 90 % of sonographers experience pain and or injury whilst performing ultrasound examinations at some stage of their career.
The degree of pain, and the length of time endured depends to a high degree on types of examinations being performed.

The primary causes of sonographers' musculoskeletal disorders are:

  • Arm abduction.
  • Lengthy examination times.
  • Frequent, repetitive movements.
  • Scanning patients with high body mass index
1 in 5 of the sonographers that acquire an injury have to change career due to that injury, often early in their careers.

Research by the SSI found that sonographers do not report their pain and injury to either management, or in the safety reporting systems. This means the issues are largely ignored, and there is little evidence to mandate change. In this respect, sonographers can be their own worst enemy in regards to safety.

The SSI developed guidelines, principles and solutions to address the multi-factorial issues that cause risks to sonographers health. The initiative created reports to discuss the issues and solutions, and tailored the reports to three areas to assist in cultural change in the industry.

The three targeted areas are:
  • Management who oversee ultrasound clinics and departments
  • Work Health and Safety staff, who influence ultrasound procedures, and workplace environmental safety
  • Educators and mentors who deliver the safe workplace practices to students, trainees and senior staff

The reports which contain suggested guidelines, principles and solutions can be found here :

Good close setup and No abduction

Copyright SA BME, 2016
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