Best Practice for moving and handling
Moving & handling is a key part of the working day for most care staff from moving equipment, laundry, catering, supplies or waste to assisting residents.
Poor moving and handling practice can lead to back pain and musculoskeletal disorders, which can lead to inability to work
- moving and handling accidents – which can injure both the person being moved and the employee
- discomfort and a lack of dignity for the person being moved
- All care homes are responsible for putting the right measures, equipment and training in place to prevent or minimise the risk of injury.
Patient-centred care plans
No-one should routinely manually lift patients. Hoists, sliding aids, electric profiling beds and other specialised equipment are substitutes for manual lifting. Patient manual handling should only continue in cases which do not involve lifting most or all of a patient's weight. This rules out for example, the shoulder or Australian lift. Patients often have complex and varying needs. The Health and Safety Executive advise a balanced approach to managing the risks from patient handling. These include:
Equally, care workers are not required to perform tasks that put them and their clients at risk
A client's personal wishes on mobility need to be respected wherever possible
A client's independence and autonomy must supported as fully as possible.
A patient-centred care plan should include information on immobility and detail any handling risks and/or needs
Care environments are governed by the following legislation and helpful for assessing moving and handling risks:
· Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA)
· Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (MHOR) (as amended 2002)
· Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
· Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)
· Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER)
Legally, employers are obliged to provide a safe working environment for their staff. Under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (as amended) employers are required to:
· assess the risk of a back injury at work
· reduce the risk of injury to the lowest level reasonably practicable
· provide training for staff on safe manual handling practices
· supervise staff to ensure compliance with the regulations.
Risk assessments could be generic and individual. A generic risk assessment would consider the needs of the workplace/environment e.g. the equipment needed, safe staffing levels, emergency procedures and the suitability of the physical environment. Individual risk assessments consider the specific moving and handling needs (e.g. help needed, specific equipment needs and number of staff needed to support the patient) to ensure the safety of staff and the patient/service user.
There is a requirement for a ‘competent person’ to conduct risk assessments. Competency is a mixture of skills, knowledge and qualifications to carry out the role.
For further details please see