WorkSafe Victoria recently issued a safety alert about the safe use of portable patient handling ceiling hoists, after an incident in which a resident at an aged care facility was fatally injured while being moved with a portable patient handling ceiling hoist.
There have been several other incidents where portable patient handling ceiling hoists, which use latching hooks and wands or just wands (also known as extension arms), failed when transferring patients, causing serious injuries.
The alert said employers must, so far as is reasonably practicable, ensure that persons including patients, employees, contractors and members of the public are not exposed to risks to their health or safety.
This includes ensuring plant (such as portable patient handling ceiling hoists) is provided and maintained in a way that is safe and without risks to health.
Employers must also provide employees and contractors with necessary information, instruction, training and supervision to perform their jobs safely and without risks to health.
The alert said employers should:
Use permanently attached (as opposed to portable) ceiling hoists where reasonably practicable
Ensure manufacturer instructions for installation, use, maintenance and cleaning of hoists are followed in the workplace
Provide information, instruction and training to employees and contractors on how to properly connect, check and use hoists, and provide supervision as necessary
Require employees and contractors to undertake pre and post connection checks (and cross checks) of hoist components that are required to lock together during use.
Ensure load ratings are identified and marked on hoist suspension components, and keep records of these ratings at the workplace.
Arrange regular inspection, testing and maintenance of hoists – it may be necessary to engage a third-party service provider who has expertise in hoist inspection and maintenance.
Withdraw and dispose of damaged, worn or faulty hoist components.