OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
Bookmark this page

Part 14 Lifting and Handling Loads

Section 209.1 Work site design – health care facilities

An effective method of reducing patient handling injuries is the provision of mechanical devices to assist in patient lifts, transfers and repositioning tasks. Successful musculoskeletal injury prevention programs are those that reduce manual lifting and increase the use of equipment that limits physical stress on workers.

This section requires that appropriate patient lifting equipment be incorporated into the design and construction of new health care facilities and when existing facilities undergo renovation.

This is meant to include mobile patient lifts (see Figure 14.42) and ceiling lifts.

Figure 14.42 Example of patient lift

Choosing appropriate equipment can be quite challenging, as the need for flexibility in the healthcare environment is significant. The following criteria can be considered in area design configuration:

(a) ceiling lifts should track all the way into the bathroom;
(b) adequate space should be provided for lifting, transferring, toileting and performing other care duties;
(c) sufficient clearance beside, at the foot of, and on the transfer side of the bed to allow for two caregivers and equipment as necessary i.e. equipment may include a stretcher, wheelchair, lifting device, etc.;
(d) under-bed clearance should accommodate patient lifting devices;
(e) sufficient appropriately placed electrical outlets to allow the lift device(s) to be used;
(f) in bathrooms, doorway entrances and the space within should accommodate wheelchairs, lifts and up to two caregivers in addition to the patient;
(g) consider bariatric equipment and its required clearances. Manufacturers may have guidebooks for architects and planners that provide specific clearances for room design;
(h) in bathrooms, toilet height should take into account lift equipment requirements;
(i) corridors of sufficient width to allow patient lifting equipment to be moved and stored;
(j) doorways that are wide enough to accommodate patient lifting equipment;
(k) hard, smooth flooring (no carpet) that allows for easy movement of wheeled patient lifting equipment; and
(l) sufficient storage space for patient lifting equipment and supplies to ensure that they are readily available.

This requirement is not retroactive. This section does not apply to new facility construction, alterations, renovations or repairs started before July 1, 2009.

For more information
New Zealand Patient Handling Guidelines – The LITEN UP Approach