sonographer workplace health and safety (WH&S)

There is potential for workplace injuries to affect sonographers. Injuries are most commonly caused by the twisting of the neck and trunk during examinations, a static posture and the downward application of transducer pressure. The ASA seeks to communicate these matters to our members to ensure they are aware of this potential and to assess and where appropriate change work practices and the working environment to make workplaces safer.

The ASA in conjunction with ASUM have produced the Guidelines for Reducing Injuries to Sonographer/Sonologists, to provide a base line for reducing injuries and offer information on room set up, equipment, ergonomics for the sonographer/sonologist and workload and scheduling. The Australasian health infrastructure alliance has also produced Guidelines for scanning room specifications that may be of assistance to members.

The ASA conducted surveys into workplace injuries in 1998 and 2006 and will conduct further research as part of the implementation of the 2012-15 strategic plan. The research will aim to establish current trends in sonographer workplace injuries and provide resources and support to sonographers to limit workplace WH&S issues.

View the 1998 WH&S survey report
View the 2006 WH&S survey report

The ASA has established a Special Interest Group – Sonographer Health & Wellbeing  to inform members of relevant WH&S issues, both nationally and internationally, regularly conduct research to ascertain trends in the incidence of injuries and where possible, address any specific concerns or issues raised by individual members. It will highlight to all stakeholders the workplace conditions which contribute to the high incidence of workplace-related injuries, develop and/or recommend tools to limit the incidence of injuries and develop, or recommend to the board, policies and procedures which seek to limit the incidence of injuries.

Links to state and federal government websites that contain up to date information on the legislation you work under can be found in the useful links page. The soundergonomics website also provides useful information.

ASA publications

The ASA's quarterly publication soundeffects news frequently features articles and responses to sonographer questions regarding WH&S. These have included:

Minimising sonographer injuries

There is a high incidence of workrelated injuries for sonographers ... and the injuries are most commonly sustained by the twisting of the neck and trunk, a static posture and the downward application of transducer pressure. Read more

Cardiac sonographer injuries

Due to the sustained flexion and extension positions of their wrists, there were a number of complaints of tingling of the fingers and other symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Read more

Overuse injuries: what are they?

Repetitive strain injury (RSI) and occupational overuse syndrome (OOS) are umbrella terms that include many localised injuries such as trigger finger, golfer’s and tennis elbow and carpal tunnel syndrome. More diffuse pain syndromes (those spread over the body) may be diagnosed as regional pain syndrome or cervicobrachial pain syndrome. Read more

Hand hygiene – ten little fingers and how many bugs?

Do you ever stop to think about what might be on your hands? What did you touch after that last patient – yourself, your equipment, your next patient? Healthcare workers’ hands are the most common vehicle for the transmission of healthcare-associated pathogens from patient to patient, and within the healthcare environment. Read more